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GAL 1 L 


BY  J.  J.  FAHIE 








**  Sempre  il  novo  che  &  grande  appar  menzogna 
.  .  .  al  volgar  debile  ingegno ; 
Ma  imperturbato  il  regno 
De'  saggi  dietro  all'utile  s'ostina. 
Minaccia  n&  vergogna 
No  '1  frena,  no  '1  rimove ; 
Prove  accumula  a  prove  ! 
Del  popolare  error  1'  idol  rovina, 
E  la  salute  ai  posteri  destina." 

— PARINI  :  "  L'Innesto  del  Vaiuolo." 

"Anything  new,  which  is  great,  appears  false  to  the  ordinary  weak  mind,  but 
the  rule  of  the  wise  obstinately  continues  its  way  unmoved.  Neither  threats  nor 
shame  checks  or  changes  its  course ;  experiment  follows  experiment ;  the  idol  of 
popular  error  is  throAvn  down,  and  health  to  posterity  is  ensured." 














THE  history  of  the  life  and  labours  of  Galileo  is 
pregnant  with  a  peculiar  interest  to  the  general 
reader  as  well  as  to  the  man  of  science  and  the 
philosopher  His  brilliant  discoveries  the  man  of 
science  regards  as  his  peculiar  property  ;  the  means 
by  which  they  were  made  and  the  development 
of  his  intellectual  character  belong  to  the  logician 
and  the  philosopher ;  but  the  triumphs  and  reverses 
of  his  eventful  life  must  be  claimed  for  our  common 
nature,  as  subjects  of  deep  interest  and  serious 

So  wrote  Sir  David  Brewster  in  the  opening 
paragraph  of  his  biography  of  Galileo  ("  Martyrs  of 
Science,"  London,  1841).  It  is  the  object  of  the 
present  volume  to  give  a  fuller  presentation,  under 
this  three-fold  aspect,  of  the  life  which  Sir  David 
has  only  outlined. 

In  recent  years  materials  for  such  a  work  have 
been  brought  together  which  were  not  accessible 


when  Brewster  wrote.  Imperfect  collections  of 
Galileo's  writings  were  published  in  Bologna  1656, 
in  Florence  1718,  in  Padua  1744,  and  in  Milan  in 
1 808- 1 1  and  1832  ;  but  the  first  edition  of  anything 
approaching  a  complete  character  is  that  of  Alb£ri 
in  sixteen  volumes,  which  was  begun  in  1842  and 
completed  in  1856.  That  even  this  collection  is 
defective  in  many  important  particulars  is  shown 
by  the  fact  that  another  edition  was  begun  in  1890, 
under  the  auspices  of  the  King  of  Italy,  and  under 
the  direction  of  Professor  Antonio  Favaro  of  the 
Royal  University  of  Padua.  Of  this  monumental 
work,  twelve  out  of  twenty  large  volumes  have 
appeared.  They  contain  all  Galileo's  works,  the 
works  of  adversaries  annotated  by  him,  and  his 
correspondence  down  to  the  year  1619,  and  supply 
an  inexhaustible  mine  for  the  student  of  science. 
In  exploring  this  for  nuggets  I  have  had  the  in- 
estimable assistance  of  Professor  Favaro,  who  has 
given  me  many  valuable  hints,  and  has  generously 
placed  at  my  disposal  all  his  Galilean  studies  and 
researches  for  the  last  twenty-five  years.  Thus  I 
am  enabled  to  give  a  fuller  and  more  comprehensive 
history  of  the  life  and  work  of  Galileo  than  has 
hitherto  been  attempted,  or,  indeed,  been  possible. 
Thanks  mainly  to  Professor  Favaro  and  his  multi- 


tudinous  writings,  my  book  contains  much  new 
matter,  and,  what  is  more  important,  it  avoids  most, 
if  not  all,  of  the  numerous  errors  and  fables  which 
previous  biographers  have  little  by  little  woven 
into  the  life  of  Galileo. 

For  the  benefit  of  students  who  may  wish  to 
explore  for  themselves  (and  I  promise  them  rich 
harvests),  I  have  given  at  the  end  of  this  volume 
a  short  history  of  Galileo's  writings,  followed  by 
a  list  of  works  which  I  have  consulted,  and  which 
may  be  found  useful.  Speaking  for  myself,  I  have 
to  acknowledge  my  special  indebtedness  to  (besides 
the  editions  of  Alb£ri  and  Favaro)  the  works  of 
Nelli,  Venturi,  and  Drinkwater,  and,  coming  down 
to  more  recent  times,  those  of  Martin,  Olney, 
Von  Gebler,  and  Favaro.  The  works  of  Nelli, 
Venturi,  Drinkwater,  and  Martin  have  been  useful 
to  me  in  a  general  way.  Mrs  Olney's  charming 
volume  and  Favaro's  "  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste  " 
have  been  largely  drawn  upon  for  Galileo's  private 
life,  and  for  his  correspondence  with  his  daughter ; 
while  Martin,  Von  Gebler,  and  Favaro  have  been 
the  chief  guides  in  my  account  of  Galileo's  relations 
with  the  Roman  Curia. 

I  have  also  to  acknowledge  my  indebtedness  to 
Mr  Arthur  Berry,  of  King's  College,  Cambridge, 


who  very  kindly  read  the  proofs  and  made  sugges- 
tions of  great  value,  which  I  was  happy  to  adopt,  and 
to  Mr  H.  H.  Champion,  The  School,  Uppingham, 
for  revising  the  scientific  parts  of  my  work.  Mr 
Champion  not  only  corrected  a  few  errors  and 
ambiguities  into  which  I  had  fallen,  but  supplied 
most  of  the  material  on  which  my  rksum&s  of  the 
Dialogues  of  1632  and  1638  are  based. 

In  my  quotations  of  letters  and  documents  I  do 
not  in  all  cases  give  them  in  full.  I  mostly  content 
myself  with  extracts  of  the  parts  referable  to  the 
particular  matter  in  hand.  I  think  it  necessary  to 
point  this  out,  as  the  quotations  do  not  always 
show  where  the  ellipses  occur. 




PISA  (1 564-1 589) I 

II.   GALILEO,   PROFESSOR    IN   PISA  (1589-1592)      ...  22 

III.  GALILEO,   PROFESSOR   IN  PADUA  (1592-1610)  .  .  34 

IV.  GALILEO,      PROFESSOR     IN      PADUA     (1592-1610) — con- 

tinued   59 

V.  GALILEO,     PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA      (1592-1610) — con- 
tinued         .........          74 

VI.  GALILEO,  PROFESSOR  IN  PADUA  (1592-1610) — con- 
cluded   98 


(1610-1612) 116 

(l6l2-l6l7) 146 

IX.   GALILEO  IN   FLORENCE  (1617-1624)         ....         178 


(1624-1629) 204 



THE  INQUISITION   (1632-1633)  ....        263 

XIII.  GALILEO  AND  THE  INQUISITION  (1632-1633) — con- 
tinued   294 


ABJURATION — EXILED  TO   SIENA  (1633)  .  .         3** 





ON  THE  TWO  NEW  SCIENCES  (1634-1636)          .           .  338 

XVI.   GALILEO   AT  ARCETRI — HIS    LAST   WORKS   (1636-1641).  372 

XVII.   DEATH   OF  GALILEO— CONCLUSION  (1642)      .           .           .  400 

BIBLIOGRAPHY            ........  433 

LIST   OF  THE  PRINCIPAL   WORKS  CONSULTED         .           .  435 

INDEX 447 


PORTRAIT    OF    GALILEO  IN   1635,  AGED  72      .          .  Frontispiece 

From  Sustermans*  picture  in  Uffizi    Gallery,   Florence 
(Alinari  Photo]. 

SUPPOSED  BIRTHPLACE  OF  GALILEO,  IN  PISA  .      To  face  page  4 

From  photograph  by  Alinari  ,  Florence, 


From  a  drawing  "by  A.  H,  Hallam  Murray. 

POSSENTI'S  LAMP  IN  THE  CATHEDRAL,  PISA  „          „          IO 

From  photograph  by  Alinari,  Florence, 

DIAGRAMS  OF  THE  PULSILOGIA         ....  Page  II 

DIAGRAM  OF  THE  BILANCETTA         ....  „        1  6 

FA9ADE     OF     THE      UNIVERSITY,     PADUA,     tempo 

GALILEO  .......  To  face  page  34 

From  Favartfs  paper  in  "  Natura  ed  Arte"  Milan%  1833. 

GEOMETRICAL  AND  MILITARY  COMPASS  „          „         42 

From  Favaro's  *'  Terzo  Centenario  di  Galileo  in  Padova" 
Florence^  1892* 

GALILEO'S  HOUSE  IN  PADUA   .....       „       „       48 

From  Favaro's  paper  in  "  Natura  ed  Arte"  Milan^  iSqj* 

DIAGRAM  OF  AIR  THERMOMETER    .....          Page  $2 

From  Nelli's  "  Vita  c  Commerdo  Letter  ario  di  GalUeo" 
Lausanne^  1793. 

AULA  MAGNA  AND  LECTURE-DESK,  PADUA     .         .    To  face  page  56 
From  Favaro's  paper  in  "Natura  ed  Arte"  Milan,  1893. 

PORTRAIT  OF  GALILEO,  AGED  ABOUT  40  „          „          74 

From  Favaro's  "  Terzo  Centenario  di  Galileo  in  Padova^' 

CAMPANILE  AND  CHURCH  OF  SAN  MARCO,  VENICE         „          „          78 
From  pftotographby  Alinari,  Florence, 


DIAGRAM  OF  GALILEAN  TELESCOPE          .         .         .  Page  82 


From  lt  Terzo  Centenario  di  Galileo  in  Padova>  " 
Florence,  1892. 

DIAGRAM  OF  KEPLERIAN  TELESCOPE       .         .         .  Page  94 

GALILEO'S  OBJECT-GLASS  AND  TELESCOPES    .      .  To  face  page  96 

From  Fawtro's  "  Intorno  ai  Cannocchiali  di  Galileo" 
Venice,  igox. 

DIAGRAMS  OF  SATURN'S  RING  ....  Page  109 

From  Favaro's  "Intorno  alia  Apparenza  di  Saturno 
osseruata  da  Galileo"  Venice^  TQOI. 

SATURN'S  RING  AS  SEEN  BY  HUYGENS    ...  „       IIS 

From  Huygen?  £<  Sy  sterna  Saturnium"  The  Hague,  1659. 

THE  TORRE  DEL  GALLO,  ARCETRI,  FLORENCE         .  To  face  page  238 

From  photograph  by  Alinari>  Florence, 

TITLE-PAGE  OF  DIALOGUE  OF  1632  .         .         .         „         „       266 

From  Ventures  "  Memorie  e  Lettere  di  Galileo"  Modena> 

SANTA  MARIA  SOPRA  MINERVA,  ROME     .         .         .         „         ,,312 
From  old  engraving  tempo  Galileo. 


PORTRAIT  OF  GALILEO,  AGED  ABOUT  75          .         .  To  face  page  384 

From  a  copy  of  the  picture  (Sustermans*  School)  in  the 
Pitti  Collection  ,  Florence^  photographed  by  Alinari, 

GALILEO'S  DESIGN  OF  PENDULUM-CLOCK        .         .  Page  397 

From  Favaro's  "  Galileo  e  Cristiano  Huygens.  Nuom 
documentisuW  applicazione  delpendolo  alt  orologio" 
("  Nuovi  studi  Galileiani"  Venice,  1891). 

From  photograph  by  Alinari^  Florence* 

TRIBUNA  DI  GALILEO,  FLORENCE    ,...„„       414 
From  photograph  by  Alinari,  Florence, 





GALILEO  GALILEI,  one  of  the  earliest  and,  perhaps, 
one  of  the  greatest  of  the  experimental  philosophers 
of  the  modern  world,  and  the  father  of  telescopic 
astronomy,  is  generally  known  in  history  by  his 
baptismal  name,  Galileo,  alone,  in  accordance  with 
a  custom  of  the  Italians  to  call  their  great  men 
by  their  Christian  names,  or  by  nicknames  derived 
from  some  peculiarity  of  the  individual  or  from  the 
place  of  his  birth. 

Galileo,  as  we  shall  continue  to  call  him,  was 
descended  from  a  noble  family  of  Florence,  which 
was  long  and  honourably  connected  with  the  govern- 
ing bodies  of  the  republic,  fourteen  of  its  members 
having  filled  the  highest  posts  on  nineteen  different 
occasions  between  the  years  1343  and  1528. 

The  original  surname  of  the  family,  Bonajuti, 
was  exchanged  for  that  of  Galilei  on  the  election, 


2  EARLY   YEARS  [1564- 

in  1343,  of  one  of  its  members,  Tommaso,  to  the 
College  of  the  XII  Buonomini,  or  the  Twelve  Good 
Men,  as  the  ruling  body  of  the  republic  was  then 
called.  A  grandson  of  this  Tommaso,  christened 
Galileo,  became  a  celebrated  physician,  and,  in 
1438,  was  appointed  Professor  of  Medicine  in  the 
University  of  Florence.  He  was  elected  one  of  the 
Priori,  or  governing  body,  on  two  occasions,  in 
1430  and  1434;  and  in  1445  he  filled  the  office  of 
Gonfaloniere  or  Chief  Magistrate  of  the  republic. 

After  a  long  and  well-spent  life  he  was  buried 
with  public  honours  in  the  Church  of  Santa  Croce, 
Florence,  where  his  grave  is  marked  by  a  slab  of 
white  marble  let  into  the  floor  of  the  nave,  near  the 
main  entrance  door.  The  stone  bears  a  full-length 
figure  in  bas-relief  of  an  old  man,  robed,  and  wearing 
the  high  folded  cap  used  by  the  gentle  folk  and 
scholars  of  the  period.  On  the  breast  lies  a  closed 
book,  over  which  the  hands  are  folded,  and  at  the 
feet  is  a  Latin  inscription,  setting  forth  that  "This 
Maestro  Galileo  of  the  Galilei  (formerly  of  the 
Bonajuti)  was  in  his  time  the  head  of  Philosophy 
and  Medicine,  who  also  in  the  highest  magistracy 
loved  the  republic  marvellously.  His  son,  Benedetto, 
blest  in  the  inheritance  of  his  holy  memory  and 
well-spent  and  pious  life,  has  appointed  this  tomb 
for  his  father,  for  himself,  and  for  his  posterity."  l 

Vincenzio,  the  father  of  our  Galileo,  was  an 
impoverished  descendant  of  this  noble  house, 
being  the  great-grandson  of  Michelangelo  Galilei, 

1  Ruskin,  "Mornings  in  Florence,"  p.  14,  speaks  of  this  as  "one  of 
the  most  beautiful  pieces  of  Fourteenth  (?  Fifteenth)  century  sculpture 
in  this  world," 

1 589]  VINCENZIO     GALILEI  3 

a  brother  of  the  above-named  Maestro  Galileo,  and 
twice  one  of  the   Priori,   in   1431  and   1438. 

Vincenzio  was  born  in  1520,  and  though,  as  we 
have  just  said,  of  broken  fortune,  he  was  well 
endowed  on  the  intellectual  side.  He  studied 
music  under  Zarlino  of  Chioggia,  a  seaport  town 
fifteen  miles  south  of  Venice  ;  but  in  after  years  he 
did  not  hesitate  to  attack  the  opinions  of  his  old 
master  in  his  "  Dialogo  della  Musica  Antica  et 
della  Moderna"  (Florence,  1581),  and  c<  Discorso 
intorno  alle  opere  di  Gioseffo  Zarlino"  (Florence, 


These  works  display  great  knowledge  and 
laborious  research ;  and  the  first-named,  especially, 
has  been  of  much  assistance  to  the  musical  historian 
of  later  days.  One  passage  from  the  introduction 
may  fittingly  be  noted  here,  as  it  shows  the  same 
spirit  of  free  enquiry — free  from  authority  and 
tradition — which  pervades  all  the  acts  and  writings 
of  his  distinguished  son. 

"  It  appears  to  me,"  he  says,  "  that  they  who  in 
proof  of  any  assertion  rely  simply  on  the  weight 
of  authority,  without  adducing  any  argument  in 
support  of  it,  act  very  absurdly.  I,  on  the  contrary, 
wish  to  be  allowed  freely  to  question  and  freely 
to  answer  without  any  sort  of  adulation,  as  well 
becomes  those  who  are  sincerely  in  search  of 

Besides  writing  learnedly  on  the  theory  and 
practice  of  music,  Vincenzio  was  especially  distin- 

1  These  and  four  other  works  of  the  same  author  are  enumerated 
in  Favaro's  "  Bibliografia  Galileiana,"  Rome,  1896.  Other  essays, 
which  were  never  printed,  are  now  preserved  among  the  Galileo  MSS. 
in  the  National  Library,  Florence. 

4  EARLY  YEARS  [1564- 

guished  as  an  exquisite  performer  on  the  lute — an 
instrument  which  he  tells  us  was  then  better  manu- 
factured in  England  than  in  any  other  part  of 
Europe.  He  was  also  a  skilful  mathematician,  and 
had  an  extensive  acquaintance  with  the  languages 
and  literatures  of  Greece  and  Rome. 

By  his  wife,  Giulia  Ammannati  of  Pescia, 
Vincenzio  had  three  sons,  Galileo,  Michelangelo, 
and  Benedetto,  the  last  of  whom  died  in  infancy ; 
and  four  daughters,  Virginia,  Anna,  Livia,  and 
Lena.  Of  Anna  we  know  nothing,  and  of  Lena 
very  little. 

Galileo,  the  eldest,  was  born  in  Pisa,  where  his 
father  was  engaged  in  commerce,  on  I5th  February 
1564 — just  three  days  before  his  famous  fellow- 
countryman,  Michelangelo  Buonarroti,  closed  his 
eyes  in  Rome. 

The  first  decade  of  Galileo's  life,  that  is,  down 
to  about  1575,  was  passed  at  Pisa,  where,  in  the 
frequent  absences  of  the  father  on  business,  the 
family  lodged  with  a  relative  named  Muzio 
Tedaldi.  In  Pisa,  then,  and  not  in  Florence  as 
has  hitherto  been  supposed,  Galileo  received  his 
early  education,  partly  at  the  school  of  one 
Jacopo  Borghini,  and  partly  at  home,  where  his 
father  helped  him  with  his  Greek  and  Latin 

At  about  the  age  of  twelve  or  thirteen  Galileo 
was  transferred  to  the  far-famed  monastery  of 
Vallombrosa,  near  Florence,  to  go  through  a 
course  of  what,,  according  to  the  time,  constituted 
"the  Humanities,"  or  the  literary  education  then 
considered  indispensable  for  a  well-born  youth. 

Supposed  Birthplace  of  Galileo,  in  Pisa. 

1589]  VALLOMBROSA  5 

Here  he  made  himself  acquainted  with  the  best 
Latin  authors,  and  also  acquired  a  fair  command 
of  the  Greek  tongue,  thus  laying  the  foundation  of 
the  elegant  and  incisive  style  for  which  his  writings 
are  so  distinguished.  With  one  of  the  monks  he 
began  a  course  of  instruction  in  logic,  but  from  the 
first  he  appears  to  have  had  little  taste  for  this 
subject,  preferring  what  .scraps  of  elementary  science 
and  philosophy  he  could  pick  out  of  the  lessons. 

From  a  contemporary  document,  first  published 
by  Professor  Selmi  in  I864,1  it  would  seem  that, 
while  with  the  monks  of  Vallombrosa,  Galileo  was 
so  far  attracted  towards  a  religious  life  as  to  have 
joined  the  novitiate  of  the  Order  ;  but  his  father, 
who  had  other  designs  for  him,  seized  the  oppor- 
tunity of  an  attack  of  ophthalmia,  and  withdrew  the 
boy  from  the  monastery.  A  letter  of  Muzio  Tedaldi 
to  Vincenzio  Galilei,  dated  i6th  July  1579,  and 
congratulating  him  on  the  removal  of  his  son,  seems 
to  corroborate  this  story,  and  fixes  the  date  with 
sufficient  accuracy. 

This  lovely  spot  has  for  English  readers  another 
and  more  personal  recollection.  The  Florentines 
are  proud  to  this  day  to  remind  one  that  our  Milton 
visited  it  more  than  once  during  his  stay  in  Florence 
in  the  autumn  of  1638  and  the  spring  of  1639.  It 
was  with  these  visits  in  her  mind  that  Elizabeth 
Barrett  Browning  wrote  : — 

"  Remembering  Vallombrosa.    Therefore  is 
The  place  divine  to  English  man  and  child, 
And  pilgrims  leave  their  soul  here  in  a  kiss." 

It  lies,  as  the  name  Vallombrosa  imports,  in  a 

1  "Nel  Trecentesimo  Natalizio  di  Galileo,"  Pisa,  1864. 

6  EARLY  YEARS  [1564- 

shady  and  sequestered  vale.     Hence  Milton's  lines 
descriptive  of  Satan  calling : 

"  His  legions,  angel  forms,  who  lay  entranced, 
Thick  as  autumnal  leaves  that  strow  the  banks 
In  Vallombrosa,  where  the  Etrurian  shades 
High  over-arched  imbower." 

— Paradise  Lost^  Book  I.  lines  301-4. 

We  have  said  that  in  withdrawing  his  son  from 
Vallombrosa  Vincenzio  Galilei  had  other  designs 
for  him ;  but  at  first  they  -were  not  very  ambitious. 
Vincenzio,  although  of  noble  birth,  had  no  property, 
his  income  from  trade  was  scanty  and  precarious, 
and  his  family  was  large.  Under  these  circum- 
stances he  destined  his  son  to  a  career  by  no  means 
distinguished,  though  one  that  conferred  wealth  on 
Florence,  and  therefore  held  in  no  small  esteem  by 
her  citizens — the  boy  was  to  be  a  cloth-dealer. 

Now  it  must  be  told  that  from  his  early  boyhood 
Galileo  was  remarkable  for  intellectual  aptitudes  of 
various  kinds,  coupled  with  considerable  mechanical 
inventiveness.  His  favourite  pastime  was  the  con- 
struction of  toy-machines,  not  the  less  ingenious 
because  they  did  not  always  work.1  As  he  grew  up 
he  learnt  from  his  father  something  of  the  theory 
and  practice  of  music,  and  became  so  skilful  with 
the  lute  as  to  excel  him,  good  performer  as  he  was, 
"  in  charm  of  style  and  delicacy  of  touch. "  He  was 
also,  it  is  said,  a  creditable  performer  on  the  organ 
and  one  or  two  other  instruments,  but  the  lute  was 
his  favourite,  and  continued  to  be  so  through  life. 
As  he  found  it  a  pleasure  in  youth,  so  it  was  a  great 

1  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  Newton  showed  a  similar  precocity 
for  things  mechanical. 

Monastery  of  Vallombrosa. 

[To  face  fa  6. 


solace  in  his  later  years — especially  when  blindness 
was  added  to  his  other  afflictions. 

In  the  sister  art  his  talent  was  equally  striking, 
and  as  a  lad  he  showed  considerable  skill  in  drawing 
and  painting.  In  later  life  he  used  to  tell  his 
friends  that,  had  circumstances  permitted  him  to 
choose  his  own  career,  he  would  have  elected  to 
become  a  painter.  So  well  known  was  his  youthful 
talent  as  draughtsman  and  colourist  that  such 
acknowledged  artists  as  Ludovico  Cigoli,  Bronzino, 
Passignano,  and  Jacopo  da  Empoli,  often  sought  his 
criticism  of  their  works.  Cigoli,  in  particular,  was 
wont  to  say  that  Galileo  alone  had  been  his  teacher 
in  the  art  of  perspective,  and  that  whatever  credit 
he  enjoyed  as  a  painter  was  owing  to  his  advice  and 

In  his  youthful  days  Galileo  was  also  very  fond 
of  poetry,  and  later  on  in  these  pages  we  shall  have 
occasion  to  notice  his  essays  on  Dante,  Ariosto,  and 
Tasso,  as  well  as  some  verses  and  the  fragment  of 
a  play,  all  of  which  bear  witness  to,  at  least,  a 
cultivated  taste. 

In  view  of  these  great  and  varied  abilities  thus 
early  displayed  (to  which  we  must  not  forget  to  add 
a  good  knowledge  of  Greek  and  Latin),  the  father 
could  not  help  concluding  that  his  son  was  born  to 
be  something  better  than  a  seller  of  cloths,  and  he 
now  resolved  upon  a  scientific  career.  As,  however, 
it  was  necessary  that  the  branch  selected  should 
offer  a  prospect  of  profit,  and  as  he  had  himself  had 
experience  of  the  unremunerativeness  of  mathe- 
matics and  music,  the  profession  of  medicine  was 
decided  on.  Accordingly,  on  5th  September  1581, 

8  EARLY  YEARS  [1564- 

when  seventeen  and  a  half  years  old,  Galileo  was  sent 
to  study  medicine  at  the  University  of  Pisa.1  As 
before  this  time  the  family  had  returned  to  Florence 
the  youth  was  placed  as  a  boarder  in  the  house  of 
the  relative  before  mentioned,  Muzio  Tedaldi,  and  at 
once  took  up  the  usual  courses  in  philosophy  and 
medicine,  his  teacher  in  the  latter  being  Andrea 
Cesalpino,  the  celebrated  physician  and  botanist,  who 
filled  the  chair  of  medicine  from  1567  to  1592. 

Viviani,  the  first  biographer  of  Galileo,  and  his 
last  and  best-loved  disciple,  tells  us  that  our  youth's 
attitude  from  the  first  in  the  philosophical  classes  was 
not  at  all  to  the  satisfaction  of  his  teachers,  owing 
to  the  habit,  inherited  or  acquired  from  his  father, 
of  examining  an  assertion  to  see  what  it  was  worth, 
instead  of  blindly  accepting  it  on  faith  in  the  master, 
or  in  deference  to  authority.2  In  consequence  of 
this  unheard-of  audacity  in  one  so  young,  he  soon 
acquired  a  reputation  among  the  professors  and  his 
fellow  -  students  for  bold  contradiction,  and  was 
dubbed  "  The  Wrangler/'  His  eager  questioning 
of  the  dictates  of  Aristotle,  Plato,  St  Thomas 
Aquinas,  and  other  ancient  lights,  found  no  favour 
in  their  eyes.  To  the  narrow  conceptions  of  the 
time,  a  philosopher  needed  only  to  know  Aristotle 

1  In  order  to  reduce  the  expenses  of  a  college  training,  Vincenzio 
tried  to  obtain  for  his  son  one  of  the  forty  free  foundations  for 
necessitous  students  attached  to  the  University,  but  neither  then,  nor 
at  the  end  of  the  third  year,  when  the  request  was  renewed,  was  the 
favour  granted. 

2  In  the  first  volume  of  Favaro's  edition  of  Galileo's  works,  there 
are  many  pages  of  Juvenilia,  or  Commentaries  (in  Latin)  on  Aristotle's 
"de  Caelo"  and  "de  Mundo,"  which  were  written  about  1584,  and 
which  are  evidently  notes  of  lectures  he  had  been  attending.    They 
show  the  close  attention  of  the  young  student. 

I589]      BIRTH    OF    THE    PENDULUM       9 

by  heart ;  to  understand  hint  was  a  secondary  con- 
sideration ;  to  contradict  him  was  a  blasphemy. 
Galileo,  however,  would  try  to  understand,  and  often 
dared  to  contradict,  and  thus  arose  that  feeling  of 
hostility  which  ultimately,  as  we  shall  see,  drove 
him  from  Pisa,  and  which  endured  for  years  after 
he  became  famous.1 

In  1581  Galileo  made  his  first  discovery,  which 
is  characteristic  of  his  observant  eye.  As  the  story 
goes,  the  student  of  eighteen  was  one  afternoon 
performing  his  devotions  in  the  Cathedral  of  Pisa, 
and  in  full  view  of  Maestro  Possenti's  beautiful 
bronze  lamp  which  hung  (and  still  hangs)  from  the 
roof  of  the  nave.  In  order  to  light  it  more  easily 
the  attendant  drew  it  towards  him,  and  then  let  it 
swing  back.  Galileo  at  first  observed  this  simple 
incident,  as  thousands  of  othei  worshippers  had 
done  before  him  and  have  done  since,  i.e.  in  a 
casual  way,  but  quickly  his  attention  became  riveted 
to  the  swinging  lamp.  The  oscillations,  which  were 
at  first  considerable  became  gradually  less  and  less, 
but,  notwithstanding,  he  could  see  that  they  were 
all  performed  in  the  same  time,  as  he  was  able  to 
prove  by  timing  them  with  his  pulse — the  only 
watch  he  possessed!2 

1  Thus,  Father  Castelli,  the  first  disciple  and  lifelong  friend  of 
Galileo,  writing  to  him  from  Pisa  in  November  1613,  says:  "Of  our 
controversies  (on  the  earth's  motion)  not  a  word  is  allowed  to  be  said 
— a  thing  which  astonishes  me.  Your  marvellous  discoveries  are 
scarcely  known  here  even  by  name." 

54  Whether  this  be  only  a  pretty  fable,  like  that  of  Newton  and  the 
apple,  cannot  now  be  decided,  but  it  is,  at  least,  certain  that  Possenti's 
lamp  was  not  the  one  which  Galileo  observed,  since  it  was  not  made 
until  1587,  and  was  only  hung  in  its  present  place  on  the  2Oth 
December  in  that  year. 

io  EARLY  YEARS  [1564- 

After  some  experiments  at  home,  he  saw  that  an 
instrument  might  be  constructed  on  this  principle 
which  should  mark  with  accuracy  the  rate  and 
variation  of  the  pulse.  He  gave  shape  to  the  idea, 
and,  imperfect  though  the  instrument  was,  it  was 
received  with  wonder  and  delight  by  the  physicians 
of  the  day,  and  was  long  in  general  use  under  the 
name  of  Pulsilogia.  Santorio,  who  was  Professor 
of  Medicine  at  Padua,  has  given  representations  of 
four  different  forms  of  this  instrument  (in  his 
"  Method!  Vitandorum  Errorum  in  Arte  Medica," 
Venice,  1607),  three  of  which  we  reproduce. 

Fig.  i  consists  merely  of  a  weight  at  the  end  of 
a  string,  which  is  held  at  the  top  of  a  graduated 
scale.  The  string  being  gathered  up  into  the 
hand  till  the  vibrations  of  the  weight  coincide 
with  the  beatings  of  the  patient's  pulse,  the  length 
is  ascertained  from  the  scale,  which  if  great 
indicates  a  languid,  and  if  small,  a  more  lively 
action.  In  Fig.  2  the  improvement  is  introduced 
of  connecting  the  scale  and  string;  the  length  of 
the  latter  is  regulated  by  turning  a  peg,  and  a 
bead  on  the  string  shows  the  measure*  Fig.  3 
is  still  more  compact,  the  string  being  adjusted  by 
winding  (or  unwinding)  upon  an  axle  at  the  back 
of  the  dial-plate.  More  than  half  a  century  later, 
as  we  shall  see  in  the  course  of  our  narrative, 
Galileo  utilised  the  same  principle  of  the  pendulum 
in  the  design  of  an  astronomical  clock. 

Up  to  the  time  of  which  we  are  treating,  the 
study  of  mathematics,  although  mentioned  in  the 
rotuli  of  the  schools,  was  practically  neglected 
in  Italy.  The  names  of  Euclid  and  Archimedes 

I>ossenti1s  Lamp  iu  the  Cathedral,  Pisa. 

{To  face  j.  10. 




were  little  more  than  empty  sounds  to  the  students 
who  thronged  the  lecture  halls  of  Pisa,  of  Bologna, 
and  even  of  learned  Padua.  Furthermore,  Galileo's 





Fig.  2. 

Kg.  3. 



father,  thinking  that  such  studies  by  one  intended 
for   the   medical  profession  would  be  a  waste   of 


EARLY    YEARS  [1564- 

time,  not  only  abstained  from  teaching  the  boy 
what  he  knew  himself,  but  endeavoured  to  prevent 
his  obtaining  the  knowledge  from  other  sources, 
assuring  him  that  it  would  be  time  enough  when 
his  medical  studies  were  finished.  Thus,  up  to 
the  close  of  his  nineteenth  year,  Galileo  knew  little 
or  nothing  of  mathematics.  But — 

"There's  a  divinity  that  shapes  our  ends, 
Rough-hew  them  as  we  will." 

The  natural  and  as  yet  hardly  suspected  bent 
of  the  young  man's  mind  now  asserted  itself,  and 
in  a  way  not  to  be  mistaken. 

During  the  winter  and  spring  of  1582-83  the 
Court  of  Tuscany,  according  to  custom,  was  resid- 
ing at  Pisa,  and  among  the  suite  was  one  Ostilio 
Ricci,  an  able  mathematician,  tutor  to  the  Grand- 
ducal  pages,  and  a  friend  of  Galileo's  family  in 
Florence.  Naturally,  the  tutor  and  the  young 
student  became  friends.  Going  on  one  occasion  to 
pay  Ricci  a  visit,  Galileo  found  him  engaged  in 
giving  a  lesson  to  the  pages  on  some  problems  in 
Euclid.  He  did  not  enter,  but,  standing  behind  the 
door,  followed  the  lesson  with  a  strange  attention. 
This  was  the  beginning  of  a  new  sensation,  a 
craving  of  the  intellect,  under  the  influence  of 
which  he  found  himself  drawn  repeatedly  to  the 
pages'  class-room.  Each  time,  entering  unobserved 
and  concealing  himself  behind  a  door,  he  listened, 
Euclid  in  hand,  to  the  teacher's  demonstrations, 
Henceforth  mathematics  were  more  studied  than 
medicine,  for  which,  truth  to  say,  he  never  had 
any  relish.  Then,  taking  courage  and  confessing 
his  sin  of  curiosity,  he  begged  the  astonished 


tutor  to  help  him,  which  Ricci  readily  consented 
to  do.1 

When  Vincenzio  learnt,  as  he  did  through  Ricci, 
that  his  son  was  devoting  himself  to  Euclid  to  the 
neglect  of  Hippocrates  and  Galen,  he  did  his 
utmost  to  divert  the  young  man  from  this  (as  it 
seemed  to  him)  unprofitable  study,2  But  in  the  end 
old  Vincenzio  had  to  learn  the  unconquerable  power 
of  genius,  and  had  to  submit  to  it,  just  as  the  father  of 
the  great  Michelangelo  had  to  submit,  and  under  very 
similar  circumstances,  one  hundred  years  before. 

Vincenzio's  consent  was  probably  hastened  by 
other  considerations.  With  his  large  family  and 
small  means  he  must  have  found  it  increasingly 
difficult  to  keep  his  son  at  college.  At  any  rate, 
at  the  end  of  the  third  year  (1584)  he  again  peti- 
tioned the  Grand  Duke,  Ferdinando  I.,  for  one  of 
the  forty  free  places  founded  in  aid  of  poor  scholars  ; 
but,  owing  to  the  hostility  (to  which  we  have  already 
referred)  caused  by  "The  Wrangler's"  general 
attitude  and  his  marked  disrespect  for  "  authority/' 
the  petition  was  refused.  Thereupon,  after  nearly 
four  years'  residence,  and  without  taking  the 
doctor's  degree,  Galileo  was  withdrawn  from  the 
University,  and  returned  to  the  parental  roof  in 
Florence.  This  would  be  about  the  summer  of 


Professor  Favaro,  the  latest  and  most  accurate  of  Galileo's 
biographers,  is  inclined  to  doubt  this  story,  but,  as  they  say  in  Italy, 
Se  non  I  vero^  t  ben  trovato. 

2  Vincenzio's  horror  of  mathematics  or  pure  science  as  a  means  of 
obtaining  a  living  is  justified  by  the  fact  that  while  the  Professor  of 
Medicine  in  the  University  of  Pisa  received  2000  scudi  a  year,  the 
Professor  of  Mathematics  had  only  60  (^13)  a  year,  or  just  7^d.  a 

I4  EARLY    YEARS  [1564- 

Here,  and  chiefly  under  the  guidance  of  Ostilio 
Ricci,  he  devoted  himself  heart  and  soul  to  mathe- 
matics and  physics.  From  the  study  of  Euclid  he 
passed  on  to  the  writings  of  Archimedes,  whose 
work  in  mechanics  he  was  destined  to  continue, 
and  for  whom  he  then  conceived  a  veneration 'which 
lasted  through  life. 

In  1586,  when  fresh  from  the  study  of  the  great 
Syracusan,  Galileo  constructed  the  hydrostatic 
balance  (la  Bilancetta),  for  ascertaining  with 
accuracy  the  relative  weights  of  any  two  metals 
in  an  alloy.  His  short  essay,  descriptive  of  this 
instrument,  was  circulated  in  MS.  amongst  his 
friends,  and  was  published  for  the  first  time,  after 
his  death,  in  1644. 

He  refers  to  the  popular  account  of  the  way 
in  which  Archimedes  detected  the  fraud  committed 
by  the  goldsmith  in  the  making  of  Hiero's  crown. 
The  story  is  well  known,  but  will  bear  repeating 
as  illustrative  of  some  of  the  ways  of  scientific  dis- 

"  What  great  things  from  small  may  be  springing 

Is  proved  by  the  engine's  deep  sob ; 
And  yet,  after  all,  the  beginning 
Was  the  kettle  that  sings  on  the  hob." 

— J.  E.  CARPENTER,  Songs. 

Hiero  had  given  a  certain  weight  of  gold  to  be 
made  into  a  crown.  When  the  work  was  finished 
a  suspicion  arose  in  the  royal  mind  that  the  gold 
had  been  alloyed  with  some  baser  metal,  and  he 
applied  to  Archimedes  in  the  hope  of  detecting  the 
supposed  imposture.  The  weight  of  the  crown 
being  correct,  the  problem  was  to  measure  its  bulk ; 

1589]  ARCHIMEDES  15 

for  silver  being,  weight  for  weight,  of  greater  bulk 
than  gold,  any  alloy  of  the  former,  in  place  of  an 
equal  weight  of  the  latter,  would  necessarily  increase 
the  bulk  of  the  crown.  To  measure  the  bulk,  the 
only  known  method  for  testing  the  purity  of  the 
metal,  was  difficult  without  melting  it  into  a  regular 

Archimedes,  after  many  unsuccessful  attempts, 
was  about  to  abandon  the  search  altogether,  when 
the  following  circumstance  suggested  to  his  discern- 
ing and  prepared  mind  a  train  of  thought  which  led 
to  the  solution  of  the  difficulty.  Stepping  into  his 
bath  one  day,  his  mind  doubtless  fixed  on  the  object 
of  his  research,  he  chanced  to  observe  that,  the  bath 
being  full,  a  quantity  of  water  of  the  same  bulk  as 
his  body  must  flow  over  before  he  could  immerse 
himself.  He  probably  perceived  that  any  other 
body  of  the  same  bulk  would  have  displaced  the  water 
equally  ;  but  that  another  body  of  the  same  weight, 
but  less  bulky,  would  not  have  produced  so  great  an 
effect.  In  the  words  of  Vitruvius,  "as  soon  as  he 
had  hit  upon  this  method  of  detection,  he  did  not 
wait  a  moment,  but  jumped  joyfully  out  of  the  bath, 
and,  running  forthwith  towards  his  own  house,  called 
out  with  a  loud  voice  that  he  had  found  what  he 
sought.  For  as  he  ran  he  called  out  in  Greek, 
1  Eureka !  Eureka ! '  I  have  found  it  out !  I  have 
found  it  out!"  When  his  emotion  had  sobered 
down,  he  proceeded  to  investigate  the  subject 
calmly.  He  procured  two  masses  of  metal,  each  of 
equal  weight  with  the  crown — one  of  gold,  and  the 
other  of  silver ;  and  having  filled  a  vessel  very 
accurately  with  water,  he  plunged  into  it  the  silver, 

16  EARLY    YEARS  [1564- 

and  marked  the  exact  quantity  of  water  that  over- 
flowed. He  then  treated  the  gold  in  the  same 
manner,  and  observed  that  a  less  quantity  of  water 
overflowed  than  before.  He  next  plunged  the 
crown  into  the  same  vessel  full  of  water,  and 
observed  that  it  displaced  more  of  the  fluid  than  the 
gold  had  done,  and  less  than  the  silver,  from  which 
he  inferred  that  the  crown  was  neither  pure  gold  nor 
pure  silver,  but  a  mixture  of  both. 

Galileo  doubted  the  correctness  of  this  story,  for 
he  says,  the  results  of  such  a  method  are  fallacious, 
or,  at  least,  little  exact.  After  much  thought  on  the 
subject,  he  devised  a  "most  exact "  method,  which 
he  believed  was  really  the  one  employed  by 
Archimedes  himself. 

EG         F         C 

Fig.  4. 

Take  a  lever  AB,  Fig.  4,  at  least  a  yard  long 
(and  the  longer  it  is,  the  more  accurate  will  be  its 
indications),  delicately  suspended  from  its  centre  C  ; 
and  at  the  ends  let  there  be  means  of  attaching  the 
body  (say  an  alloy  of  gold  and  silver)  to  be  tested  at 
B,  and  its  counterweight  at  A.  First,  take  a  piece 
of  pure  gold  and  weigh  it  in  air ;  now  immerse  It 
in  water ;  it  will  seem  lighter,  and  the  counterpoise 
D  must  be  moved  from  A  to,  say,  E,  to  obtain  a 
balance.  Then,  as  many  times  as  the  space  CA 
contains  the  space  AE,  so  many  times  is  gold 
heavier  than  water.  Proceed  in  the  same  way 

I589]       ARCHIMEDES    OF   HIS   TIME         17 

with  a  piece  of  pure  silver.  When  placed  in  water, 
it  will  seem  to  lose  more  of  its  weight  than  the 
gold  did,  and  its  counterpoise  will  have  to  be 
moved  to,  say,  F,  showing  that  silver  is  specifically 
less  heavy  than  gold  in  the  ratio  AE  to  AF. 

Now  taking  the  alloy,  it  is  clear  beforehand 
that  it  will  weigh  less  than  an  equal  volume  of 
pure  gold,  and  more  than  an  equal  volume  of 
pure  silver.  Weigh  it  in  air  and  then  in  water, 
when  it  will  be  found  that  its  counterpoise  must 
be  moved  to  some  point  between  E  and  F,  say 
G.  From  this  we  learn  that  the  weight  of  gold 
in  the  mixture  is  to  that  of  the  silver  as  FG  is 
to  GE. 

After  his  work  on  the  hydrostatic  balance, 
Galileo  undertook  an  investigation  of  the  centre 
of  gravity  in  solid  bodies,  the  results  of  which 
were  embodied  in  an  essay,1  which  obtained  for 
him  the  title  of  "  The  Archimedes  of  his  time/' 
and  which,  with  his  previous  work  on  the  pendulum, 
the  hydrostatic  balance,  and  one  or  two  shorter 
papers,  made  his  name  favourably  known  in  Italy. 
Among  those  to  whom  he  thus  became  known  we 
must  here  mention  one  who  was  ever  afterwards 
his  warm  friend  and  patron,  the  Marquis  Guidobaldo 
del  Monte  of  Pisaro,  already  himself  a  distinguished 
mathematician.  Struck  by  the  originality  displayed 
in  Galileo's  essays,  Guidobaldo  opened  a  scientific 
correspondence  with  the  author,  and  took  an  early 
opportunity  of  introducing  him  to  the  notice  of 

1  aTheoremata  circa  centrum  gravitatis  solidorum,"  first  circulated 
in  MS.  copies,  and  printed  in  1638  as  an  appendix  to  his  "  Dialogues 
on  Two  New  Sciences." 


i8  EARLY    YEARS  [1564- 

Ferdinando  L,  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany,  as  a  young 
man  of  whom  the  highest  expectations  might  be 

This  recognition  of  his  rising  talent  was,  of 
course,  very  gratifying  to  the  young  man,  but  it 
was  a  poor  substitute  for  the  gains  of  a  practising 
doctor,  on  which  old  Vincenzio  had  calculated,  to 
eke  out  his  scanty  income.  Galileo  himself  saw 
this,  and,  with  the  object  of  helping  to  maintain 
his  family,  he  gave  private  lessons  in  mathematics 
and  mechanics  to  students  in  Florence  and  the 
neighbouring  town  of  Siena.1  But  his  great  ambi- 
tion was  to  obtain  a  professorship  in  one  of  the 
Universities,  for  which  Italy  was  then  and  still 
is  famous.  Accordingly,  on  the  Professorship  of 
Mathematics  in  the  University  of  Bologna  falling 
vacant  (middle  of  1587),  Galileo  made  every 
endeavour  to  secure  it,  but  without  success.  The 
post  was  given  to  Giovanni  Antonio  Magini,  with 
whom  we  shall  meet  later  on,  nominally  as  a  friend 
of  our  hero,  but  in  reality  one  of  his  crassly  irre- 
concilable adversaries. 

Late  in  1587  Galileo  made  his  first  journey  to 
Rome,  for  what  purpose  history  does  not  say,  but 
probably  with  the  object  of  finding  there  some 
opening,  or  in  furtherance  of  his  designs  on 
the  chair  at  Bologna,  which  was  still  vacant, 
Magini's  induction  dating  only  from  4th  August 

1  About  this  time,  1587-88,  we  hear  of  Galileo  reading  two  papers 
before  the  Academy  of  Florence,  on  the  site  and  dimensions  of  Dante's 
"  Inferno,"  a  subject  which  just  then  was  being  hotly  discussed  by  the 
literati  of  the  Tuscan  capital.  For  this  task  he  was  specially  chosen 
by  Baccio  Valori,  the  president,  a  fact  which  shows  that  his  reputation 
as  a  literary  connoisseur  was  as  well  established,  as  that  he  was  an 
able  mathematician, 

i589]          FIRST    VISIT    TO    ROME  19 

1588.  However  this  may  be,  the  visit  was  not 
without  result,  for  it  led  to  his  acquaintance  with 
Father  Cristoforo  Clavio,  of  the  Society  of 
Jesus,  already  a  celebrated  mathematician,  and 
to  whom  the  world  is  mainly  indebted  for  the 
reform  of  the  calendar  in  1582.  Little  did  they 
then  think  that  the  learned  old  Jesuit  would 
be  a  stout  opponent  of  the  new  astronomical 
teachings  which  the  younger  man  would  pro- 
mulgate, but  to  which,  before  his  death  in  1612, 
he  was  to  become  a  distinguished  convert,  malgrt 

Evidently  while  in  Rome  the  two  new  friends 
had  been  discussing  mathematics,  for  on  his  return 
to  Florence  Galileo  sent  a  letter  to  Clavio,  under 
date,  8th  January  1588  (the  earliest  of  his  letters 
known  to  exist),  in  which  he  frankly  states  a 
difficulty  respecting  the  demonstration  of  a  certain 
theorem  (lemma).  Those,  he  says,  to  whom  he 
had  already  submitted  it,  were  not  satisfied ;  there- 
fore he  could  not  be  so  himself.  In  this  dilemma, 
he  solicits  the  learned  father's  opinion,  adding  that 
if  it,  too,  was  unfavourable,  he  should  not  rest  until 
he  had  found  such  a  demonstration  as  would  be 
convincing  to  all. 

Galileo,  always  anxious  to  be  earning  something, 
next  applied  for  the  Professorship  in  Padua  Univer- 
sity, rendered  vacant  by  the  death  of  Moletti  in 
January  1588,  and  in  this  connection  he  betook 
himself  to  Venice  ;  but  again  he  was  unsuccessful. 
Soon  after,  a  similar  post  at  Pisa,  his  Alma  Mater, 
became  vacant,  and,  taking  advantage  of  his  recent 
introduction  to  the  Grand  Duke,  in  whose  gift  the 

20  EARLY    YEARS  [1564- 

appointment  was,  he  applied  for  it  through  the 
Marquis  del  Monte.  Once  more  he  was  unfortu- 
nate, as  the  following  letter  of  i6th  July  1588  to 
the  Marquis  shows. 

"My  wish  regarding  Pisa,  about  which  I  wrote 
your  lordship,  will  not  be  carried  out;  for  I  hear 
that  a  certain  monk,  who  lectured  there  formerly, 
and  then,  on  being  made  General  of  his  Order, 
retired,  has  resigned  the  Generalship,  and  has 
again  taken  to  lecturing;  and  that  his  Highness 
has  already  appointed  him  to  the  post. 

"  Now,  as  here  in  Florence  there  was  formerly 
a  Professorship  of  Mathematics,  which  was  estab- 
lished by  the  Grand  Duke,  Cosimo  I.,  and  which 
many  among  the  nobles  would  like  to  see  revived, 
I  have  petitioned  for  it,  and  hope  to  obtain  it 
through  your  illustrious  brother's  influence,  to 
whom  I  have  entrusted  my  case.  As  there  have 
been  foreigners  here,  with  whom  his  Highness  has 
been  engaged,  I  have  not  been  able  to  speak  on 
the  subject  myself,  and,  therefore,  I  beg  you  to 
write  again  and  mention  my  name/' 

Even  in  this  fourth  attempt  he  failed.  Thus 
for  nearly  two  years,  from  about  the  middle  of 
1587  to  the  middle  of  1589,  Galileo  saw  all  his 
efforts  to  obtain  employment  in  his  own  country 
end  in  bitter  disappointment  Can  we  wonder 
that,  repulsed  at  Bologna,  Rome,  Padua,  Pisa,  and 
Florence,  he  should  turn  his  thoughts  towards  the 
East  as  to  a  land  of  promise  ?  From  some  documents 
recently  brought  to  light  by  Professor  Favaro,  the 
indefatigable  editor  of  the  latest  collection  of 
Galileo's  works,  it  appears  that  he  was  actually 
engaged  on  this  desperate  enterprise  at  the  moment 
when  at  last  the  tide  of  fortune  began  to  flow  in 

I589]  PROFESSOR     AT     PISA  21 

his  favour.1  Towards  the  end  of  May  1589, 
Galileo  and  a  young  Florentine  patrician  of  his 
acquaintance,  Ricasoli  Baroni,  had  decided  to  seek 
together  their  fortunes  in  the  East,  when  the 
Mathematical  Professorship  at  Pisa  again  fell 
vacant.  Once  more  he  made  application  for  the 
post,  and  in  due  time,  and  through  the  joint 
influence  of  the  Marquis  Guidobaldo  and  his 
brother,  Cardinal  Francesco  Maria  del  Monte,  he 
was  awarded  the  prize.  This  was  in  July  1589, 
when  he  was  barely  twenty-five  and  a  half  years 
old.  To  be  sure,  the  salary  was  insignificant,  only 
60  scudi  per  annum,  or  about  ^13  of  our  money. 
Moreover,  the  appointment  was  only  for  three 
years,  but  renewable.  But,  any  port  in  a  storm; 
and  in  Galileo's  needy  circumstances,  even  this 
wretched  salary  was  not  to  be  rejected ;  besides, 
the  office  would  enable  him  to  make  something  in 
addition  by  private  tuition. 

1  See  Favaro's  "Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  Florence,  1891, 
p.  25. 



No  sooner  was  Galileo  settled  in  his  new  office 
than  he  resumed,  and  with  increased  diligence,  his 
physico-mathematical  researches.  In  the  first  year 
he  carried  to  greater  length  his  previous  studies  on 
the  centre  of  gravity,  and  arrived  at  results  which 
excited  afresh  the  admiration  of  the  Marquis  del 
Monte  ;  he  discovered  that  peculiar  geometrical 
curve  to  which  he  gave  the  name  cycloid,  and 
attempted  the  problem  of  its  quadrature  ;  1  and  all 
the  while  he  was  steadily  revolving  those  novel  ideas 
on  motion,  which  were  creeping  into  his  mind,  and 
which  were  to  be  the  basis  of  his  greatest  and 
latest  work.  In  pursuance  of  these  ideas,  he  now 
began  a  systematic  investigation  (with  experiment) 
of  the  mechanical  doctrines  of  Aristotle. 

Galileo  was  not  the  first  to  call  in  question  the 

1  The  cycloid  is  the  curve  described  by  a  point  in  a  circle  (as  the 
nail  in  the  rim  of  a  carriage  wheel)  while  it  makes  one  revolution 
along  a  horizontal  base.  Soon  after  its  discovery,  and  on  Galileo's 
recommendation,  it  was  applied  in  the  formation  of  the  arches  of  the 
bridge  (Ponte  di  Mezzo)  over  the  Arno  in  Pisa.  Galileo  guessed  that 
the  area  contained  between  the  cycloid  and  its  base  is  three  times  that 
of  the  describing  circle,  but  he  was  unable  to  demonstrate  this  geo- 
metrically —  a  task  which  his  disciple  Torricelli  achieved  soon  after  his 


1589-1592]  TEACHING  23 

authority  of  Aristotle  in  matters  of  science.  It  is 
now  known  that  the  celebrated  painter,  Leonardo 
da  Vinci  (1452-1519),  held  many  views  opposed 
to  the  Aristotelian  philosophy,  and  even  anticipated 
Galileo  in  some  of  his  discoveries.  But  as  da 
Vinci's  scientific  writings  (mostly  short  notes  and 
memoranda)  remained  in  manuscript,  practically 
lost  to  the  world,  till  I797,1  it  is  not  likely  that 
his  views  were  known  to  any  one.  Also  Nizzoli, 
Varchi,  Benedetti,  and  others,  had  attacked  in  a 
general  way,  or  in  particulars,  the  peripatetic 

While,  therefore,  Galileo  was  not  the  first  to 
question  the  authority  of  Aristotle,  he  was  un- 
doubtedly the  first  whose  questioning,  as  embodied 
in  his  acts  and  writings,  produced  an  effect  in 
men's  minds  which  it  would  not  be  exaggerating 
to  call  a  revolution.  The  reason  is  not  far  to  seek. 
The  spirit  of  free  thought  and  free  enquiry  was 
asserting  itself  in  every  department.  As  in  the 
reformation  of  religious  doctrines,  so  in  science, 
men  were  beginning  to  shake  off  the  old  supersti- 
tions. Galileo,  in  a  word,  came  at  the  psycho- 
logical moment,  and,  above  all,  he  came  armed 
with  a  weapon  of  convincing  force — experiment. 
He  was  not  content,  like  his  precursors,  with 
merely  giving  an  opinion,  supported  or  not  by 
wordy  metaphysical  arguments,  but  what  he 
asserted  as  well  as  what  he  denied  he  proved 
to  ocular  demonstration. 

The  results  of  his  researches — the  foundations 

1  When  Venturi  brought  them  to  notice  in  his  "  Essai  sur  les 
Ouvrages  Physico-Math&natiques  de  Leonard  da  Vinci,"  Paris,  1797. 

24  PROFESSOR    IN     PISA  [1589- 

of  dynamical  science— are  given  at  great  length  in 
his  treatise  "  De  Motu  Gravium,"  1590,  which,  as 
was  his  custom  then,  and  for  many  years  after,  was 
circulated  in  manuscript,  and  only  appeared  in  print 
two  hundred  years  after  his  death.1  As  most  of 
these  early  theorems  were  afterwards  developed  and 
incorporated  in  his  larger  work,  "  Dialogues  on  Two 
New  Sciences"  (1638),  we  shall  reserve  our  notice 
of  them  till  we  reach  that  period  of  his  life.  Here, 
then,  we  need  only  say,  that  as  fast  as  he  succeeded 
in  demonstrating  the  falsehood  of  any  of  Aristotle's 
positions  he  did  not  hesitate  to  denounce  them 
from  his  professorial  chair,  and  perhaps  with  too 
much  energy,  at  least  for  his  own  comfort,  since 
the  immediate  result  was  to  irritate  more  and  more 
his  colleagues  of  the  academic  body,  who,  as  we 
have  seen,  were  never  too  well  disposed  towards 

We  must,  however,  say  something  here  of  his 
celebrated  experiments  on  falling  bodies,  on  account 
of  their  associations  with  the  Leaning  Tower  of  Pisa 
— one  of  Italy's  many  curious  monuments.  Nearly 
two  thousand  years  before,  Aristotle  had  asserted 
that  if  two  different  weights  of  the  same  material 
were  let  fall  from  the  same  height,  the  heavier 
would  reach  the  ground  sooner  than  the  lighter  in 
the  proportion  of  their  weights.  The  experiment 
is  certainly  not  a  difficult  one,  but  nobody  thought 
of  that  method  of  argument,  and  consequently  this 
assertion  was  received  upon  Aristotle's  ipse  dixit 
among  the  axioms  of  the  science  of  motion. 

1  In  Alberi's  "Opere  di  Galileo  Galilei,"  16  vols,,  Florence, 
1842-56;  or  better,  Favaro's  new  edition,  where  they  are  given  more 
accurately,  and  for  the  first  time  published  completely. 

i S92]       CELEBRATED   EXPERIMENTS    25 

Galileo,  however,  now  appealed  from  the  authority 
of  Aristotle  to  that  of  his  own  senses,  and  main- 
tained that,  with  the  exception  of  an  inconsiderable 
difference  due  to  the  disproportionate  resistance  of 
the  air,  they  would  fall  in  the  same  time.  The 
Aristotelians  ridiculed  and  refused  to  listen  to  such 
an  idea.  But  Galileo  was  not  to  be  repressed,  and 
determined  to  make  his  adversaries  see  the  fact 
as  he  saw  it  himself.  So  one  morning,  before  the 
assembled  University,  professors,  and  students,  he 
ascended  the  leaning  tower,  taking  with  him  a 
lo-lb.  shot  and  a  i-lb.  shot.  He  balanced  them 
on  the  over-hanging  edge  and  let  them  go  to- 
gether. Together  they  fell,  and  together  they 
struck  the  ground. 

Neglecting  the  resistance  of  the  air,  i.e.  suppos- 
ing the  bodies  to  fall  in  a  vacuum,  Galileo 
had  found  them  to  be  subject  to  the  following 
laws  : — 

1.  All  bodies  fall  from  the  same  height  in  equal 

2.  In  falling  the  final  velocities  are  proportional 
to  the  times. 

3.  The  spaces  fallen  through  are  proportional  to 
the  squares  of  the  times. 

The  correctness  of  the  first  law  was  easily 
established  by  the  leaning  tower  experiments,  and 
the  better  to  prove  the  others  he  devised  the 
inclined  plane — a  long  straight  piece  of  wood,  along 
which  a  groove  was  accurately  made,  and  down 
which  a  bronze  ball  was  free  to  move  with  the  least 
friction.  With  this  he  proved  that,  no  matter  what 
the  inclination  of  the  plane  was,  and,  consequently, 

26  PROFESSOR     IN    PISA  [I589- 

no  matter  what  the  time  was,  the  movement  of  the 
ball  was  always  in  accordance  with  the  laws.1 

It  might  have  been  thought  that  such  experi- 
ments as  these  would  have  settled  the  question  de- 
cisively. Aristotle,  the  master,  would  certainly  have 
accepted  them  in  disproof  of  his  own  dogma,  but 
his  disciples  were  embued  with  no  such  frankness, 
and  would  not  be  convinced.  With  the  sound 
of  the  simultaneously  fallen  weights  ringing  in 
their  ears,  they  still  persisted  in  maintaining  that 
a  weight  of  10  Ibs.  would  reach  the  ground  in  a 
tenth  of  the  time  taken  by  one  of  I  lb.?  because  they 
were  able  to  quote  chapter  and  verse  in  which 
Aristotle  assured  them  that  such  is  the  fact ! 

A  temper  of  mind  like  this  could  not  fail  to 
produce  ill-will  towards  one  who  felt  no  scruples  in 
exposing  such  folly.  With  the  exception  of  the  new 
Professor  of  Philosophy,  Jacopo  Mazzoni,  the  whole 
body  of  the  teaching  staff,  as  well  as  the  heads  of 
the  University,  now  turned  against  our  young 

For  some  time  these  feelings  of  animosity  had 
no  serious  effects,  but,  no  doubt,  Galileo  was  "  boy- 
cotted" and  subjected  to  many  petty  annoyances. 
Soon,  however,  a  wholly  unforeseen  circumstance 
came  to  the  aid  of  the  Aristotelians,  and  led  to 
Galileo's  retirement  from  Pisa.  Giovanni  de  Medici, 
the  natural  son  of  Cosimo  I.,  was  at  the  time 
Governor  of  Leghorn.  He  had  a  bent  for 
mechanics,  and  was  not  unskilled  as  an  engineer 

1  Naturally  these  experiments  would  show  the  necessity  of  some 
accurate  measurer  of  time,  and  so  we  are  not  surprised  to  learn  that 
Galileo  again  occupied  himself  with  the  pendulum  as  such  a  measurer. 
See  Favaro's  "  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  32. 

I592]         RETURN    TO    FLORENCE  27 

and  architect.  Amongst  other  contrivances,  he  had 
just  designed  a  monster  dredging  machine,  which 
he  wished  to  employ  in  clearing  the  harbour  of 
Leghorn.  A  model  was  submitted  to  the  Grand 
Duke,  by  whom  Galileo  was  commissioned  to 
examine  and  report  upon  it.  He  did  so,  and 
declared  it  to  be  useless,  an  opinion  which  sub- 
sequent experiment  (with  an  actual  machine)  fully 
confirmed.  That  the  discomfited  inventor  should 
be  mortified  at  this  failure  is  natural ;  but  that  he 
should  for  no  other  reason  be  angry  with  Galileo, 
and  should  seek  to  injure  him,  is  not  so  intelli- 
gible. However,  so  it  is  stated,  and  the  young 
prince  was  easily  induced  to  join  hands  with  the 
Aristotelians  in  an  onslaught  on  their  common 
aversion.  Hisses  were  now  heard  at  his  lectures  ; 
cabals  were  started  at  Court;  and,  altogether,  the 
position  speedily  became  so  intolerable  that 
Galileo  resigned  his  post,  before  the  three  years' 
term  had  expired,  and  once  more  returned  to 
Florence.  This  was  about  the  middle  of  1592. 

Other  circumstances  of  an  economical  character, 
no  doubt,  contributed  to  this  decision.  We  have 
seen  that  out  of  his  salary  of  ^13  per  annum  he 
was  expected  to  contribute  (and  did  so  willingly) 
to  the  support  of  the  family ;  but  miserable  as  the 
stipend  was,  he  seldom  received  the  whole  of  it.  It 
was  the  custom  in  Pisa  to  put  the  professors  under 
stoppages  for  all  lectures  not  given,  and  at  the  end 
of  the  scholastic  year  they  were,  as  a  rule,  called 
upon  to  refund  a  sum  corresponding  to  the  number 
of  lectures  missed,  and  proportional  to  the  salary. 
Now,  owing  to  an  inundation  of  the  Arno,  Galileo 

28  PROFESSOR    IN    PISA  [1589- 

was  unable  to  take  up  his  post  on  the  opening  day 
of  the  session ;  and  on  another  occasion,  while  in 
Florence  on  some  urgent  business,  a  sudden  illness 
of  his  mother  detained  him  some  days  over  the 
specified  time,  yet,  although  he  wrote  to  the  head 
of  the  University  explaining  the  causes  of  his  deten- 
tion in  each  case,  the  rule  was  rigorously  enforced 
— in  the  first  year  to  the  extent  of  one-tenth  of 
his  salary ! l 

Indeed,  his  retirement  from  Pisa  was  no  new 
or  sudden  resolution.  He  had  not  been  many 
months  there,  when  the  ever-pressing  money 
difficulty,  and  the  undisguised  antipathy  of  his 
colleagues,  made  him  think  of  throwing  up  the 
post.  Thus,  it  appears  from  his  correspondence 
with  the  Marquis  del  Monte  that  early  in  1590  he 
sought  his  friend's  aid  in  obtaining  the  Mathe- 
matical Chair  of  Padua,  which  was  vacant  since 
January  1588  by  the  death  of  Moletti;  but  at  this 
time  as  well  as  later  (early  in  1592)  his  efforts  were 
not  successful. 

To  this  period  belong  most  of  Galileo's  literary 
productions.  His  "Capitolo  in  Biasimo  della 
Toga,"  written  in  1590,  is  a  fragment  of  a  play,  an 
amusing  though  somewhat  licentious  burlesque,  in 
which  he  ridicules  the  University  ordinance  com- 
pelling the  professors  to  wear  the  gown,  not  only 

1  To  eke  out  his  pittance  Galileo  had  to  give  up  much  of  his  time 
to  the  drudgery  of  private  lessons.  On  the  strength  of  a  letter  to  his 
father,  dated  I5th  November  1590,  and  asking  fora  copy  of  the  works 
of  Galen,  some  of  his  biographers  conclude  that  he  was  then  practising 
as  a  physician,  or  reading  with  medical  students  ;  but  it  is  more 
likely,  as  Professor  Favaro  says,  that  "  Galen  was  wanted,  not  for  the 
purpose  of  coaching,  but  for  the  many  anti-Aristotelian  arguments 
which  the  work  contains  "  ("  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  26,) 

,S92]  TASSO     AND     ARIOSTO  29 

when  actually  engaged  in  lecturing,  but  when 
passing  through  the  streets  and  visiting  their 
friends.  This  was  another  cause  of  offence  to  the 
academic  body,  and  the  author  was  set  down  as 
a  man  of  easy  morals,  and  little  mindful  of  the 
professorial  dignity. 

About  the  same  time  Tasso's  "Jerusalem 
Delivered"  was  being  hotly  criticised  at  the 
Accademia  della  Crusca  of  Florence.  This  cele- 
brated academy,  the  first  of  its  kind,  and  still 
flourishing,  was  founded  1582  by  Cosimo  I.,  Grand 
Duke  of  Tuscany,  to  maintain  the  purity  of  the 
Italian  language,  or,  as  the  name  (Crusca  =  bran) 
imports,  to  sift  the  flour  from  the  bran.  In  the 
exercise  of  this  praiseworthy  object  the  academy 
often  gave  offence  by  condemning  all  works  which 
did  not  conform  to  its  rules,  and  among  the  works 
thus  censured  was  the  "Jerusalem  Delivered "  of 
Torquato  Tasso.  Galileo  must  be  held  to  have 
contributed  to  this  result  by  his  very  severe 
critique  on  the  style,  construction,  and  characters 
of  the  poem.  He  is  said  to  have  known  by  heart 
the  "  Orlando  Furioso"  of  Ariosto,  whom  he  called 
the  divine,  but,  according  to  all  competent  critics, 
his  appreciation  of  the  one  is  as  excessive  as  his 
disparagement  of  the  other.1  The  following 
sentences  will  give  an  idea  of  this  too  scathing 
production :  "I  am  sometimes  aghast  at  the 
foolish  things  this  poet  sets  himself  to  describe." 
"To  my  mind  this  poet  is  poor  and  miserable 

1  His  copy  of  the  "Orlando  Furioso"  has  been  preserved.  It  is 
full  of  notes  and  corrections  which  critics  say  are  just  and  ingenious. 
See  "  Postille  air  Ariosto  "  in  Alberi's  vol.  xv.,  or  Favaro's  vol.  ix. 

30  PROFESSOR    IN     PISA  [1589- 

beyond  all    expression,    whereas    Ariosto    is    rich, 

magnificent,     admirable."       "  Eh,    Signor     Tasso, 

you  understand  nothing  of  your  art,  you  besmear 

much   paper  and  only  make   in   the  end   pap   for 

cats."     In  later  life  Galileo  considerably  modified 

his  views,  but  still   could   only  relish   Tasso  after 

Ariosto  "  as  one  relishes  cucumbers  after  melons." l 

Besides    these    effusions,    Galileo  has    left    us 

the    outline    of    a    comedy    in   prose,    for   writing 

which  some  of  his  biographers  blame  him  much, 

and  still  more  for  preserving  it;    also  a   number 

of    sonnets,     some     of    which     are    of    doubtful 

authenticity,   and   ought,    perhaps,    to   be   credited 

to  his   son   Vincenzio,   a   MS.    volume   of    whose 

verses,    dated    1637,    is    now    in    the    Riccardian 

Library,   Florence.     Amongst  his  friends  in   later 

life  was  Antonio   Malatesti,  the   poet   and   friend 

of  Milton,  to  whom  a  copy  of  his  "  Sphinx,"  or 

poetical  enigmas,  was  presented.     This  curious  and 

somewhat  irreverent  work  has  prefixed  a  number 

of  commendatory  verses,  amongst  which  is  a  sonnet 

by  Galileo  on  the  telescope,  which  he  presented  to 

the  Grand  Duke.2     This  and  three  other  sonnets 

have  been  printed  in  Alb&ri's  edition,  1842-56,  since 

1  See  his  letters  of  5th  November  1639,  and  iQth  May  1640,  both 
addressed  to  his  friend,  Francesco  Rinuccini.  At  the  time  Tasso  was 
under  restraint  in  a  kind  of  maison  de  sant^  and  this  controversy  with 
the  della  Cruscans  grievously  wounded  him.  But  in  the  end  it  tended 
more  to  spread  the  knowledge,  and  with  that  knowledge  the  fame, 
of  his  "  Gerusalemme  Liberata,"  than  permanently  to  injure  it.  For 
a  long  time  it  was  thought  that  Galileo's  essay,  "  Considerazioni  al 
Tasso,"  had  perished,  till  the  Abbe  Serassi  discovered  a  MS.  copy 
about  1780,  whilst  collecting  materials  for  his  "Life  of  Tasso," 
published  in  Rome  in  1785. 

a  u Notes  and  Queries"  (1853),  vol.  viii.  p.  295,  where  the  verses 
are  given. 

i592]       A    SPECIMEN     OF    POETRY  31 

which  Professor  Favaro  has  collected  three  others, 
and  a  longer  piece  which,  from  internal  evidence,  he 
assigns  to  the  period  of  Galileo's  professorship  in 
Pisa,  1590-92.  This  we  venture  to  reproduce  as 
a  fair  specimen  of  our  philosopher's  versification 
recently  brought  to  light. 

"  Oh  poveri  Dottor  mal  arrivati ! 

Voi  siete  stati  pure  i  bei  minchioni 
A  dare  agli  scolar  tanti  capponi, 
Con  rischio  d'esser  tutti  condennati. 

"  Qui  non  si  guarda  che  sien  mandati 
Editti,  Bandi,  Prescrizioni  j 
Qui  non  val  nulla  Monsignor  Capponi 
Per  dio,  n'avete  ad  esser  gastigati. 

"  Venite  qua ;  non  e  una  vergogna, 
Un  vituperio  espresso,  una  pazzia, 
Un  obbrobrio  da  mitera  e  da  gogna, 

"  Avere  i  polli  in  casa,  e  darli  via 

Senza  ragione  e  quando  non  bisogna, 
A  chi  viene  a  can  tar  la  Befania  ? 

"  E  poi  a  una  genia 
Che  per  saziar  loro  ingordigia  Jhterna 
Avrian  data  la  stretta  a  vita  eterna  ? 

"  In  questa  lor  Taverna, 
Cioe  congrega  di  gran  Tavernieri, 
Hanno  condotto  un  Conte,  ed  un  Alfieri, 

"  Che  son  due  masnadieri, 
Ch&  Tun  de1  ghiotti  &  Re,  Taltro  e  Monarca : 
Guai  a  colui  che  con  costor  s'imbarca ! 

"  S'  egli  entravan  neir  Area, 
Dove  campb  No&  co'  suoi  parenti, 
E  con  tutte  le  razze  de'  viventi, 

"Non  crediate  altrimenti 
Che  le  spezie  si  fusser  propagate, 
Che  si  poteva  dir,  le  son  sonate ; 

32  PROFESSOR    IN    PISA  [iS89- 

"  Perch&  queste  brigate 
Non  pur  mangiavan  le  starne  e  gli  storni, 
Le  pecore,  le  capre  e  i  liocorni, 

"  Ma  in  que'  quaranta  giorni 
Asini  e  buoi  morivan  tutti  quanti, 
Orsi,  draghi,  serpenti  e  liofanti. 

"  Hanvi  poi  tanti  e  tanti 
Cavalier  da  far  prove  memorande 
Intorno  ai  piatti,  intorno  alle  vivande, 

"  Che  sarla  cosa  grande 
Dir  del  Mannelli  1'ingordigia  orrenda, 
0  del  Sertin  da  quella  gran  faccenda 

"  Dir  la  furia  tremenda, 
Un  rasciugar  di  piatti,  e  d'altri  vasi 
Dell'  Ansaldi,  del  Medici  e  del  Masi, 

"  Hannovi  anco  quel  Rasi ; 
Di  questo  non  occorre  far  paroia, 
Perche  ognun  sa  ch'  ei  tira  ben  di  gola. 

"  Or  da  costor  m'invola 
Con  quel  bocchino,  e  coi  leggiadri  sguardi 
Quel  tristo  Trafuriel  di  Carlin  Bardi. 

"  Che  venne  al  quant  o  tardi, 
Essendo  stato  fino  alle  tre  ore 
Non  so  dal  Confessoro  o  dal  Dottore ; 

"E  vigiuro  di  cuore 
Che  mi  parea  con  quello  spadaccino 
Qualche  San  Giorgio,  o  quaiche  San  Martino. 

"  Evvi  anco  un  Lupicino, 
Che  divora,  trangugia,  anzi  tracanna ; 
II  nome  solamente  lo  condanna." 

Early  in  1591,  Virginia,  the  eldest  of  Galileo's 
sisters,  was  married  to  Benedetto  Landucci,  son 
of  the  Tuscan  ambassador  at  Rome  during  the 
pontificate  of  Leo  X.  Writing  to  his  father  on 
26th  December  1590,  this  most  loving  of  brothers 
says  : — 

i592]  A     PITIABLE     POSITION  33 

11 1  am  preparing  for  Virginia  a  set  of  silken  bed- 
curtains,  the  silk  for  which  I  bought  at  Lucca,  and 
have  had  it  woven  at  little  cost,  so  that,  although 
the  stuff  is  one  and  a  quarter  yards  wide,  it  only 
cost  me  about  three  carlini  the  yard.  The  stuff  is 
made  with  selvage,  and  will  be  sure  to  please.  I  am 
now  having  made  the  silk  fringes  for  ornamenting 
the  curtains,  and  could  also  have  the  bedstead  made 
if  desired.  I  beg  you  not  to  speak  of  this  in  the 
house,  as  I  wish  it  to  be  an  unexpected  surprise.  I 
will  bring  them  at  the  Carnival  holidays,  and,  if  you 
wish,  I  could  also  bring  enough  to  make  four  or  five 
vests  of  damask  and  velvet  of  an  exquisite  design." 

Not  content  with  this  present,  which,  considering 
his  scanty  means,  was  more  than  liberal,  he  further 
bound  himself  in  the  marriage  contract  to  provide  a 
dot,  the  non-payment  of  which,  as  we  shall  see, 
brought  on  him  no  end  of  sordid  annoyances — his 
ungracious  brother-in-law  going  so  far  as  to  threaten 
him  with  prison. 

On  his  return  to  Florence  (middle  of  1592) 
Galileo's  position  was  truly  pitiable.  Without 
employment,  and  with  no  immediate  prospect  of 
obtaining  it,  the  monetary  situation  must  have 
appeared  to  him  overwhelming,  aggravated  as  it 
was  by  the  death  of  his  father  on  2nd  July  1591. 
Besides  his  mother,  there  was  a  brother,  Michel- 
angelo, who  had  received  a  good  musical  educa- 
tion from  his  father,  but  who  had  not  yet  been 
able  to  contribute  anything  towards  the  household 
expenses;  and  two  sisters,  Livia  and  Elena — all 
entirely,  or  almost  entirely,  depending  on  him 
for  their  daily  wants. 



IN  our  second  chapter  we  saw  that  Galileo  long  had 
designs  on  the  Mathematical  Chair  in  Padua,  which 
had  been  vacant  since  January  1588,  another  fact 
which  shows  the  little  value  that  was  attached  to 
pure  science  even  in  learned  Padua.1  Now  he  again 
approached  his  friend,  the  Marquis  del  Monte,  on 
the  subject  Del  Monte  was  a  distinguished  pupil  of 
the  Padua  University,  had  many  friends  there,  and 
also  a  relative  who  was  high-placed  in  the  military 
service  of  the  Venetian  republic.  With  letters  of 
introduction  from  this  influential  man,  Galileo  set 
out  for  Venice  towards  the  end  of  the  summer  of 
1592,  all  his  worldly  goods  (as  he  used  afterwards  to 
tell  his  friends)  being  contained  in  a  trunk  which 
did  not  weigh  loolbs.  He  passed  through  Pesaro, 
the  home  of  his  noble  friend  and  patron,  and  halted 
at  Padua,  where  he  was  warmly  received  by 
Gianvincenzio  Pinelli,  a  learned  man  of  Genoese 
extraction  long  domiciled  at  Padua,  and  an  intimate 
friend  of  del  Monte.  Armed,  further,  with  recom- 
mendations from  Pinelli,  Galileo  arrived  in  Venice 

1  See  remarks  on  this  subject,  p.  10  ante, 

i592-i6io]    PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA  35 

about  ist  September,  and  was  met  with  the  alarming 
intelligence  that  a  formidable  rival  was  already  in 
the  field,  namely,  Giovanni  Magini,  whom  we  have 
before  mentioned  as  the  Professor  of  Mathematics  in 
Bologna,  whose  term  there  was  about  to  expire,  and 
who  was  long  known  to  have  aspired  to  the  Chair  at 
Padua.  However,  with  the  aid  of  his  friends,  del 
Monte  and  Pinelli,  and  of  their  friends  in  Venice, 
Galileo  had  the  good  fortune  to  be  selected.  Being 
informed  privately  of  this  happy  issue,  he  set  out  on 
2Oth  September  for  Padua,  en  route  for  Florence,  to 
wind  up  his  affairs  there,  and  to  obtain  the  permis- 
sion of  his  sovereign  to  withdraw  from  Tuscany. 

On  26th  September  he  was  gazetted,  and  as 
the  terms  of  the  diploma  (preserved  amongst  the 
Galilean  MSS.  in  the  National  Library,  Florence) 
will  serve  to  show  the  estimation  in  which  our 
philosopher  was  held,  we  reproduce  it  here. 

(After  preamble.)  "Owing  to  the  death  of 
Signor  Moletti,  who  formerly  lectured  on  Mathe- 
matics at  Padua,  the  Chair  has  been  for  a  long  time 
vacant,  and,  being  a  most  important  one,  it  was 
thought  proper  to  defer  electing  any  one  to  fill  it  till 
such  time  as  a  fit  and  capable  candidate  should 
appear.  Now  there  has  been  found  Domino  Galileo 
Galilei,  who  lectured  at  Pisa  with  very  great  honour 
and  success,  and  who  may  be  styled  the  first  in  his 
profession,  and  who,  being  ready  to  come  at  once 
to  our  said  University,  and  there  to  give  the  said 
lectures,  it  is  proper  to  accept  him.  Therefore,  the 
said  Domino  Galileo  Galilei  is  hereby  appointed 
Mathematical  Lecturer  in  our  University  for  four 
years  certain,  and  two  uncertain  (and  the  last  two 
are  to  be  at  the  will  and  pleasure  of  our  Serenity), 
with  the  yearly  salary  of  180  florins." 

36  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

The  gaining  of  this  coveted  post  over  so  formid- 
able a  rival  as  Magini  was,  of  course,  very  gratifying 
to  the  amour  propre  of  Galileo,  but  it  was  also  very 
welcome  from  the  money  point  of  view.  The  salary 
was  exceptionally  good  for  the  time/  and,  owing  to 
the  large  number  of  students  who  flocked  to  Padua, 
he  would  be  able  to  add  considerably  to  his  income 
by  private  lessons. 

The  Paduan  session  opened  on  ist  November, 
but,  unlike  his  treatment  at  Pisa,  our  new  professor 
was  allowed  ample  time  to  settle  his  affairs  in 
Florence,  and  to  prepare  his  inaugural  address, 
which  was  to  be  worthy  alike  of  the  occasion  and 
the  man.  Accordingly,  on  7th  December  1592, 
Galileo  entered  on  his  new  duties  with  a  discourse 
which  is  said  to  have  won  the  greatest  admira- 
tion, not  only  for  its  profound  knowledge,  but  for 
its  eloquence  and  elegance  of  diction.  It  is  thus 
referred  to,  and  evidently  by  one  who  heard 
it,  in  Tycho  Brahms  "Astronomiae  Instauratae 
Mechanica,"  1598. 

"  Interea,  Gallilaeus  de  Gallilaeis  Florentinus 
Professionem  Mathematicam  hie  adeptus  est,  qui 
suarum  lectionum  septimo  Decembris  initium  fecit. 
Exordium  erat  splendidum  in  magna  auditorum 
frequentia.  Datae  Patavii  28  Decembris,  Anni 

For  some  time  after  his  arrival  at  Padua,  Galileo 
was  apparently  the  guest  of  Pinelli,  whose  library  of, 
it  is  said,  80,000  volumes  would  be  useful  in  prepar- 

1  It  was  still  very  much  under  the  salaries  attached  to  the  other 
chairs.  Thus,  the  Professors  of  Philosophy  and  of  Civil  Law  received 
annual  stipends  of  1400  and  1680  florins  respectively, 

i6io]  TREATISES  37 

ing  his  inaugural  address.  He  then  appears  to 
have  established  himself  in  a  modest  house  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  Church  of  San  Giustina,  on  the  Prato 
della  Valle  (now  Piazza  Vittorio  Emmanuele). 
Little  did  he  then  think  as  he  strolled  about  the 
Prato,  then  a  Grande  Place  for  f&tes  and  spectacles 
of  all  kinds,  that  his  statue  would  be  one  of  seventy- 
seven  which  would  be  erected  in  years  long  after 
to  commemorate  great  men  who  had  made  Padua 
illustrious  for  all  time. 

During  the  first  few  years  at  Padua,  Galileo 
displayed  an  extraordinary  and  versatile  activity. 
He  wrote  a  number  of  treatises,  chiefly  for  the  use 
of  his  pupils,  among  the  larger  of  which  may  be 
mentioned  :  On  Military  Architecture,  on  Fortifica- 
tions, on  Mechanics,  on  the  Sphere,  on  Accelerated 
Motion,  on  Gnomonics.  All  of  these  attained  a 
wide  circulation  in  manuscript  copies ;  some  were 
not  printed  until  long  afterwards,  while  others,  like 
the  paper  on  Gnomonics,  are  unfortunately  lost. 
Others,  again,  strayed  beyond  the  pupils  and 
friends  for  whom  they  were  intended,  and  found 
their  way  into  the  hands  of  persons  who  did  not 
scruple  to  claim  and  publish  them  as  their  own. 

Galileo's  treatise  on  Mechanics  ("  Delia  Scienza 
Meccanica"),  written  in  1594,  deals  with  the  powers 
of  the  lever,  pulley,  and  screw,  and  concludes  with 
an  account  of  the  Archimedian  Screw  for  raising 
water,  followed  by  a  short  fragment  "  On  the  Force 
of  Percussion." 

In  the  introductory  remarks  Galileo  demonstrates 
the  important  principle  of  Virtual  Velocities,  which, 
according  to  Professor  Jack,  marks,  with  his  laws  of 

38  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA  [1592- 

falling  bodies,  the  greatest  advance  in  mechanical 
science  since  the  world  began.  Here,  perhaps,  it 
will  be  best  described  in  the  popular  language  of 
Professor  Jack : — 

"  It  was  in  connection  with  his  investigations 
of  motion  on  a  plane  that  Galileo  laid  down  the 
principle  that,  perhaps,  serves  best  as  the  basis  of 
the  theory  of  balancing  forces,  the  principle  of  what 
is  called  Virtual  Velocities.  Every  one  is  familiar 
with  it,  in  the  ordinary  maxim,  that  what  is  gained 
in  speed  is  lost  in  power.  In  the  board  laid  across 
a  fallen  tree,  on  which  children  see-saw,  the  lighter 
child  is  put  at  the  extremity  of  the  longer  arm. 
With  a  plank  12  feet  long,  a  child  50  Ibs.  weight 
will  be  balanced  against  one  70  Ibs.  weight  when 
the  plank  rests  on  the  tree  7  feet  from  the  light 
child's  end,  and  5  feet  from  the  heavy  one's.  When 
they  swing  the  amount  of  swing  is  proportional  to 
the  distances  from  the  fixed  point.  If  the  plank 
moves,  so  that  the  child  at  the  7  feet  end  rises 
through  7  inches,  the  other  goes  down  through  5. 
In  every  case  like  this,  where  forces  are  in  equi- 
librium on  a  system,  we  can  imagine  a  motion  given, 
every  point  moving  according  to  the  geometrical 
circumstances.  Let  us  imagine  such  a  motion. 
When  two  forces  act  on  a  system  and  keep  it  at 
rest,  multiply  the  space  through  which  the  point  of 
application  of  each  force  moves,  referred  to  the  line 
in  which  the  force  acts,  by  the  measure  of  the  force. 
When  there  is  equilibrium  the  resulting  quantities 
are  equal  and  of  opposite  signs.  The  one  child 
weighing  50  Ibs,  rises  vertically  through  7  inches, 
and  we  may  call  the  product  350  inch-lbs.  upwards. 
The  70  Ibs.  child  moves  in  the  same  time  5  inches 
downwards,  and  the  product,  which  is  350  inch-lbs. 
downwards,  is  equal  and  opposite  to  the  other.  If 
there  is  equilibrium  it  must  always  be  so ;  if  it  is  so 

X6io]       TREATISE     ON     THE    SPHERE    39 

there  must  be  equilibrium.  It  is  to  Galileo  that 
we  owe  this  most  fruitful  of  statical  principles.  It 
can  easily  be  extended  to  the  case  when  any  number 
of  forces  act  at  any  number  of  points  on  a  body  or  a 
system  ;  but  it  was  not  till  a  century  later  that  John 
Bernouilli  could  state  it  in  all  its  generality,  or  show 
how  admirably  it  serves  as  a  sufficient  basis  for  the 
whole  theory  of  equilibrium.3'1 

The  treatise  on  the  Sphere,  which  was  first 
published  at  Rome  in  1656  (fourteen  years  after 
Galileo's  death),  is  supposed  by  some  authors  to  be 
apocryphal,  as  it  teaches  the  Ptolemaic  cosmogony, 
placing  the  earth  immovable  in  the  centre,  and 
adducing  the  usual  arguments.  But  this  does  not 
make  the  work  necessarily  apocryphal,  for  we  have 
it  under  his  own  hand  that  for  some  years  he  taught 
the  Ptolemaic  system  in  his  classes  out  of  compliance 
with  popular  feeling,  although  at  heart  he  was  a 
follower  of  Copernicus.2 

In  his  first  letter  to  Kepler,  dated  4th  August 
1597,  and  acknowledging  the  receipt  of  the  latter 's 
"  Mysterium  Cosmographicum,"  he  says  : — 

"  I  have  as  yet  read  nothing  beyond  the 
preface  of  your  book,  from  which,  however,  I 
catch  a  glimpse  of  your  meaning,  and  feel  great 
joy  on  meeting  with  so  powerful  an  associate 
in  the  pursuit  of  truth,  and,  consequently,  such 
a  friend  to  truth  itself;  for  it  is  deplorable  that 
there  should  be  so  few  who  care  about  truth, 
and  who  do  not  persist  in  their  perverse  mode 
of  philosophising.  But  as  this  is  not  the  fit 
time  for  lamenting  the  melancholy  condition  of 

1  "  Nature"  (1879),  vol.  xxi.  p.  40. 

a  Maestlin,  Kepler's  master,  did  the  same,  while  all  the  time  he 
was  well  known  to  be  a  Copernican. 

40  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

our  times,  but  for  congratulating  you  on  your 
elegant  discoveries  in  confirmation  of  the  truth, 
I  shall  only  add  a  promise  to  peruse  your  book 
dispassionately,  and  with  the  conviction  that  I 
shall  find  in  it  much  to  admire. 

"This  I  shall  do  the  more  willingly  because 
many  years  ago  I  became  a  convert  to  the 
opinions  of  Copernicus,1  and  by  his  theory  have 
succeeded  in  explaining  many  phenomena  which 
on  the  contrary  hypothesis  are  altogether  in- 
explicable. I  have  arranged  many  arguments 
and  confutations  of  the  opposite  opinions,  which, 
however,  I  have  not  yet  dared  to  publish, 
fearing  the  fate  of  our  master,  Copernicus,  who, 
although  he  has  earned  immortal  fame  among  a 
few,  yet  by  an  infinite  number  (for  so  only  can 
the  number  of  fools  be  measured)  is  hissed 
and  derided.  If  there  were  many  such  as  you 
I  would  venture  to  publish  my  speculations,  but 
since  that  is  not  so  I  shall  take  time  to  consider 
of  it"2 

In  the  early  summer  of  1593  Galileo  con- 
tracted an  illness,  which  nearly  proved  fatal, 
and  from  which  he  suffered  at  intervals  all 
through  life.  A  party  of  three  young  men  (so 
Viviani  tells  the  story),  of  whom  Galileo  was 
one,  "were  enjoying  at  an  open  window  in  the 
country  a  current  of  air  which  was  artificially 
cooled  by  a  fall  of  water.  They,  unfortunately, 

1  See  also  the  "Dialogues  on  the  Two  Systems  of  the  World," 
second  "Day,"  where  Sagredo  tells  how  he  was  led  in  early 
life  to  adopt  the  Copernican  doctrine,  and  where  Galileo  evidently 
describes  his  own  mental  evolution. 

a  This  interesting  letter  was  the  beginning  of  the  friendship 
of  these  two  great  men,  which  lasted  uninterruptedly  till  1630,  the 
date  of  Kepler's  death.  There  is  a  still  earlier  admission  in  his 
letter  of  soth  May  1597,  to  his  friend  Professor  Mawoni  of  Pisa. 

i6io]  A    NARROW     ESCAPE  41 

fell  asleep  under  its  influence,  and  so  great  was 
its  effect  on  Galileo's  hitherto  robust  constitution 
that  a  severe  chronic  disorder  ensued,  which 
showed  itself  in  acute  pains  in  the  body, 
accompanied  by  frequent  haemorrhages  and  loss 
of  appetite  and  sleep.  The  others  suffered  still 
more  severely,  for  one  died  in  a  few  days,  while 
the  third  became  deaf  and  died  in  a  short  time 

Professor  Favaro  has  been  at  great  pains  to 
corroborate  this  strange  story,  and  has  suc- 
ceeded in  giving  it  a  more  matter-of-fact  appear- 
ance. He  has  identified  the  place  as  the  Villa 
in  Costozza,  which  is  not  far  from  Vicenza,  and 
which  then  belonged  to  the  Count  da  Trento. 
The  Villa  still  exists,  and  in  one  of  the  rooms 
on  the  first  floor  he  found  an  opening  to  a 
narrow  passage  or  tunnel  which  led  to  a 
neighbouring  cavern.  The  air  issuing  from  this 
cavern  is  always  cool  (Favaro  found  it  to  be 
52°  Fahr.),  and,  perhaps,  sometimes  poisonous, 
like  the  Grotto  del  Cane,  near  Naples,  so 
celebrated  for  its  mephitic  vapours. .  This  would 
explain  the  disastrous  results  of  sle'eping  under 
its  influence  which  befell  Galileo  and  his 

While  carrying  on  his  professorial  duties, 
giving  private  lessons,  and  writing  learned  tracts, 
Galileo  was  occupying  himself  profitably  in  other 
ways.  Thus  it  would  appear  that  his  skill  as 
an  engineer  was  often  in  request  by  the  State, 
for  which  he  is  said  to  have  designed,  or  super- 
1  Favaro's  "Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  pp.  49-53. 

42  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

intended  the  construction  of,  various  works  and 
machines.1  Amongst  the  latter  may  here 
be  noted  a  machine  for  raising  water,  of  small 
dimensions  but  of  great  power,  so  that  one 
horse  could  raise  the  water  and  distribute  it 
through  twenty  channels.  For  this  the  Venetian 
republic  gave  him  the  exclusive  use  for  twenty 
years,  under  a  patent  dated  i5th  September 
1594;  but,  although  it  was  tried  with  success 
in  the  garden  of  the  Contarini  Palace  in  Venice, 
it  never  came  into  much  use. 

About  1596-7  he  invented  a  more  profitable 
instrument,  his  Geometrical  and  Military  Compass. 
This  useful  instrument  is  now  called  the  Sector, 
and  is  to  be  found  in  most  cases  of  mathematical 
instruments.  It  consists  of  two  straight  rulers 
connected  by  a  joint  so  that  they  can  be  set  to 
any  required  angle.  On  one  face  are  four  pairs 
of  lines. 

Arithmetical  lines,  which  serve  for  the  division 
of  lines,  the  solution  of  the  Rule  of  Three,  the 
equalisation  of  money,  the  calculation  of  interest. 

Geometrical  lines,  for  reducing  proportionally 
superficial  figures,  extracting  the  square  root, 
regulating  the  front  and  flank  formations  of 
armies,  and  finding  the  mean  proportional. 

Stereometrical  lines,  for  the  proportional  reduc- 
tion of  similar  solids,  the  extraction  of  the  cube 
root,  the  finding  of  two  mean  proportionals,  and  for 
the  transformation  of  a  parallelepiped  into  a  cube. 

1  So  say  Viviani  and  Gherardini  in  their  biographies  of  Galileo,  but 
Professor  Favaro,  after  a  diligent  search  among  the  archives  of  Venice, 
could  find  nothing  to  bear  out  the  statement  For  this  and  other 
cogent  reasons  he  doubts  its  accuracy. 

1610]       GEOMETRICAL    COMPASS  43 

Metallic  lines,  for  finding  the  proportional 
weights  of  metals,  and  other  substances,  for  trans- 
forming a  given  body  into  one  of  another  material 
and  of  a  given  weight. 

On  the  other  side  of  the  instrument  are  : 

Polygraphic*  lines,  for  describing  regular 
polygons,  and  dividing  the  circumference  into 
equal  parts. 

Tetragonical  lines,  for  squaring  the  circle  or 
any  other  regular  figure,  for  reducing  several 
regular  figures  to  one  figure,  and  for  transforming 
an  irregular  rectilineal  figure  into  a  regular  one. 

Joined  lines,  used  in  the  squaring  of  the  various 
portions  of  the  circle  and  of  other  figures  contained 
by  parts  of  the  circumference,  or  by  straight  and 
curved  lines  together. 

There  is  joined  to  the  compass  a  quadrant, 
which,  besides  the  usual  divisions  of  the  astro- 
nomical compass,  has  engraved  on  it  a  squadron 
of  bombardiers,  and,  in  addition,  transversal  lines, 
used  for  taking  the  inclination  of  a  scarp  of  a  wall. 

From  the  encouraging  reception  given  to  this 
invention,  orders  for  which  came  from  all  parts 
of  Europe,  Galileo  determined  to  open  a  work- 
shop in  his  own  house,  no  doubt  in  order  that 
the  manufacture  of  this  and  other  scientific 
apparatus 1  might  proceed  uninterruptedly  under 
his  personal  supervision,  and  so  be  less  liable  to 
piracy.  This  we  gather  from  an  entry  in  his 
Day-book  under  5th  July  1599. 

1  His  papers  show  that  large  numbers  of  the  Geometrical  and 
Military  Compass,  in  copper  and  silver,  were  manufactured,  and  that 
he  was  also  making  magnetic  compasses,  and  various  kinds  of 
drawing  instruments. 

44  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

"  Messer  Marcantonio  Mazzoleni,  mechanician, 
comes  to  reside  in  my  house  to  work  for  me, 
and  at  my  cost,  on  mathematical  instruments,  I 
undertaking  to  bear  the  expenses  of  him,  his 
wife,  and  child,  and  to  pay  him  in  addition  the 
sum  of  six  ducats  per  annum." 

This  is  one  of  the  instances,  before  referred  to, 
where  Galileo's  manuscripts  and  ideas  got  into  the 
hands  of  people  who  were  not  ashamed  to  publish 
them  as  their  own,  and  to  denounce  the  author 
as  an  impudent  plagiarist.  Some  years  after  the 
invention,  finding  that  his  right  to  it  was  being 
disputed,  Galileo  published  a  description  of  it  and 
dedicated  the  book  to  his  pupil,  Prince  Cosimo, 
son  of  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany.1  This  was 
speedily  followed  by  another  book,  the  production 
of  Baldassare  Capra,  a  young  Milanese,  in  which 
he  claimed  the  invention  as  his  own,  and  accused 
Galileo  of  piracy.2  The  matter  was  brought  before 
the  University  authorities,  and  Galileo  was  able 
to  show  that  he  had  made  the  invention  as  early 
as  1597,  and  had  explained  its  construction  and 
uses  to  numerous  persons  in  Padua  and  elsewhere, 
amongst  them  being  Capra  himself!  These  state- 
ments were  supported  by  depositions  of  well- 
known  men,  as  Gio.  Fran.  Sagredo,  Giacomo 
Badovere,  Mazzoleni  (Galileo's  mechanician), 
Giacomo  Alvise  Carnaro,  and  Fra  Paolo  Sarpi. 

1  "  Operazioni  del  Compasso  Geometrico  e  Militate."    The  dedica- 
tion is  dated  Padua,  loth  July  1606.     This  is  his  first  printed  work. 

2  This  work    is    entitled  "Usus   et    Fabrica  Circini  Cujusdam 
Proportions, "  Padua,  March    1607.    A    modern  writer    speaks   of 
Capra  as  "one  of  those  parasites  who  live  at  the  expense  of  the 
talent  and  the  renown  of  others."    Chasles  :  "  Galileo,  sa  Vie  et  son 
Proces,"  Paris,  1862,  p.  20. 

i6io]          THE     CAPRA    PLAGIARY  45 

The  last-mentioned  only  need  be  quoted.  Writing 
from  Venice  under  date  2oth  April  1607,  he 
affirms  and  attests  that  he  had  carefully  compared 
the  two  works  in  dispute,  and  had  found  Capra's 
to  be  little  more  than  a  Latin  translation  of 
Galileo's  Italian.  He  then  goes  on : — 

"  I  further  affirm  that  about  ten  years  ago  In 
Padua  Signor  Galileo  showed  me  the  instrument 
(described  in  his  book)  and  explained  its  uses ; 
and  that  about  two  years  later,  the  said  Signor 
made  me  a  present  of  one,  which  I  still  have  in 
my  possession." 

As  Capra  made  no  defence,  the  University 
authorities  did  not  take  long  to  decide.  Under 
date  4th  May  1607,  they  unanimously  decreed 
that  his  book  was  a  scandalous  plagiary  and  an 
insult  to  Galileo  and  the  University  (of  which 
Capra  was  a  member) ;  that  all  the  copies  in 
the  possession  of  the  author  and  his  publisher,  to 
the  number  of  483,  be  given  up  to  them  for  sup- 
pression "  in  the  way  that  seems  best "  ;  and  that 
proceedings  be  taken  against  the  printer  and 

Galileo  afterwards  published  a  full  account  of 
this  affair  in  his  "  Difesa  contro  alle  Calunnie  ed 
Imposture  di  Baldassare  Capra."  The  first  part 
is  taken  up  with  a  defence  of  his  views  on  the 
new  star  of  1604,  which  Capra  had  attacked  in 
another  publication — moved  thereto,  as  Viviani 
says,  "  by  envy  of  the  universal  applause  which 
accrued  to  Galileo  from  his  lectures  on  the 

From   the   opening  passages  of   Galileo's    "II 

46  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA          [1592- 

Saggiatore  "  (1623),  it  would  appear  that  the  real 
author  of  the  book  which  went  under  Capra's 
name  was  Simon  Mayer,  a  German  graduate  of 
Padua,  whom  we  shall  meet  with  later  on  arro- 
gating to  himself  the  merit  of  two  of  Galileo's 
astronomical  discoveries.  On  this  occasion,  as 
soon  as  he  found  our  philosopher  intent  on 
resenting  the  injury,  he  hastily  quitted  Italy, 
leaving  his  friend  Capra  to  bear  alone  the  shame 
of  the  exposure  which  followed. 

In  September  1598,  the  first  period  of  Galileo's 
appointment  expired,  which  the  Venetian  Senate 
were  in  no  hurry  to  renew  formally  ;  not  because 
of  any  doubt  as  to  the  incumbent's  fitness,  but 
because  of  the  dreaded  increase  of  salary  which 
was  usually  expected  on  re-appointment,  and  which 
all  governments  like  to  evade  if  they  can.  Galileo 
himself  had  allowed  the  first  term  to  expire,  and 
had  nearly  completed  one  year  of  the  second, 
before  taking  any  steps  in  the  matter.  Then, 
about  the  middle  of  1599,  with  the  advice  and 
assistance  of  Pinelli,  Gianfrancesco  Sagredo,  a 
young  Venetian  of  great  promise,  and  other 
friends,  he  formally  requested  that  his  appoint- 
ment be  renewed,  on  an  increased  salary,  as  a 
precedent  for  which  he  cited  the  case  of  Professor 
Magini  at  Bologna,  who  on  re-appointment  was 
awarded  a  salary  much  in  excess  of  that  enjoyed 
by  Galileo  at  Padua. 

The  question  of  augmentation  was  apparently 
long  and  stoutly  opposed  on  one  side,  and  as 
hotly  pressed  on  the  other.  The  Doge,  Contarini, 
complained  that  he  was  pestered  on  the  subject, 

,6io]    REPUTATION   AS  A  TEACHER     47 

not  only  by  Galileo's  friends,  but  by  his  own 
household.  "  If  Galileo,31  he  cried,  "  is  not  con- 
tent with  his  salary  he  can  resign."  Moletti,  he 
pointed  out,  had  never  more  than  300  florins,  and 
it  was  an  understood  thing  that  the  Professors 
should  eke  out  their  incomes  by  private  lessons. 
In  the  end  the  appointment  was  renewed,  on 
28th  October  1599,  for  a  further  period  of  six 
years,  commencing  27th  September  1598.  The 
salary  was  fixed  at  320  florins  (about  ^70),  and 
Sagredo  was  grumblingly  bidden  to  warn  his 
friend  not  to  expect  any  further  augmentation, 
"  as  the  Senate  did  not  choose  to  make  his  case 
a  precedent  for  every  learned  and  hungry  foreigner 
who  might  think  fit  to  press  a  similar  claim." 

Galileo's  reputation  as  a  teacher  was  now 
widely  spread  over  Europe,  and  numbers  of 
young  foreigners  flocked  to  Padua  to  attend  his 
lectures.  Amongst  these  are  noted  the  Arch- 
duke Ferdinand,  afterwards  Emperor  of  Germany  ; 
the  Landgrave  of  Hesse  ;  the  Princes  of  Alsace 
and  Mantua  ;  and  a  Prince  Gustavus  of  Sweden, 
often  confounded  with  the  great  Gustavus 
Adolphus.  Our  own  William  Harvey,  the  dis- 
coverer of  the  circulation  of  the  blood,  was  a 
student  at  Padua,  1598-1602,  and  would  no  doubt 
be  a  frequent  attendant. 

It  is  not  certain  when  he  moved  from  his 
modest  house  near  the  Church  of  San  Giustina; 
but  towards  the  end  of  1 599  we  find  him  installed 
in  a  large  house  in  the  Via  Vignali,  now  Via 
Galileo.  Here  he  was  able  to  accommodate 
suitably  his  private  pupils,  of  whom  he  now 

48  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA  [I592- 

had  large  numbers  resident  with  him,  both  Italians 
and  foreigners.  His  private  papers  show  that  he 
looked  after  the  catering  himself,  which  must 
have  been  no  light  matter,  seeing  that  he  often 
had  as  many  as  twenty  boarders  at  a  time,  some 
of  whom  were  accompanied  by  servants  or 
followers  of  some  kind.  Inclined  to  be  prodigal 
by  nature,  Galileo  made  nothing  out  of  his 
pupils'  keep,  being  content  if  their  contributions 
covered  the  expenses  of  house-keeping. 

With  the  house  went  a  garden,  to  which  in 
1603  he  added  an  adjoining  piece  of  ground 
containing  a  large  arbour  and  vine-trellises.  The 
care  of  this  garden,  the  flowers,  the  fruits,  the 
vines,  was  his  great  delight.  He  saw  to  every- 
thing and  did  much  himself  in  the  way  of  weed- 
ing, pruning,  tying.  Indeed,  all  his  life  he  was 
very  fond  of  gardening,  which  he  followed  as 
much  as  an  education  as  a  recreation  and  dis- 
traction from  severer  studies.  Here  he  took  his 
pleasure,  sometimes  alone,  revolving  deep  things 
in  philosophy,  but  more  often  surrounded  by 
groups  of  his  friends,  or  pupils,  whom  he  now 
sported  with,  now  charmed  with  performances  on 
the  lute,  which  he  touched  with  a  master's  hand — 

"  As  sweet  and  musical 
As  bright  Apollo's  lute,  strung  with  his  hair," 

now  conversed,  as  they  strolled  along  the  arbour 
and  under  the  spreading  vines,  on  any  subject 
that  presented  itself — the  germination  of  seeds, 
the  nutrition  and  vegetation  of  plants,  the  making 
of  wines,  philosophising  all  the  while  "from 
grave  to  gay,  from  lively  to  severe."  We  can 

i6io  RESIDENT    PUPILS  49 

imagine  how  charming  and  instructive  his  con- 
versations were,  for  Galileo  had  the  habit  of 
allowing  no  natural  phenomena,  however  trivial 
in  appearance,  to  escape  him,  and  he  found  the 
advantage  of  this  in  his  lectures  and  writings, 
as  it  furnished  him  with  a  stock  of  homely 
illustrations  to  which  the  daily  experience  of  his 
hearers  and  readers  readily  assented,  and  which 
he  could  show  to  be  identical  in  principle  with 
the  matter  in  hand.  Thus  he  could  always 

"  Tongues  in  trees,  books  in  the  running  brooks, 
Sermons  in  stones,  and  good  in  everything." 

"We  seem  to  see  him  now,"  says  Favaro, 
writing  within  gunshot  of  the  sacred  garden, 
"under  the  trellis  of  vines  cared  by  his  own 
hands,  surrounded  by  loving  friends  and  pupils, 
and  discoursing  with  them  on  divine  philosophy  ; 
or  presiding  at  an  evening  meal  in  summer  spread 
under  the  grateful  shade  of  trees  or  arbour ;  or 
playing  the  lute,  as  he  was  always  ready  to  do 
in  convivial  meetings.  Oh !  how  the  remem- 
brances of  such  evenings  passed  with  Galileo  in 
his  pleasant  garden  under  the  vault  of  our  splendid 
sky  must  have  impressed  themselves  on  the 
memories  of  the  youth  of  Italy,  France,  England, 
and  Germany,  who  came  to  Padua  to  listen  to 
our  great  master."1 

Among  the  crowd  of  noble  and  learned  men, 
with  whom  at  this  period  Galileo  had  cemented 
a  friendship  which  was  only  to  be  severed  by 
death,  may  be  mentioned  (besides  Pinelli)  Fra 
Paolo  Sarpi  of  the  Order  of  Servites,  Theologian 

1  "  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  73. 


and  Counsellor  of  the  Venetian  Republic,  and 
afterwards  known  as  the  Machiavelli  of  Venice ; 
Fra  Fulgenzio  Micanzio,  Sarpi's  devoted  friend 
and  colleague ;  Fabrizio  d'Acquapendente,  the 
famous  surgeon  of  Padua,  who  has  been  called 
"the  Columbus  of  the  human  body,"  and  under 
whom  our  great  Harvey  studied ;  Antonio  de 
Medici ;  General  del  Monte ;  and  young  Gian- 
francesco  Sagredo,  who  developed  into  "a  witty 
and  eccentric  patrician,  whose  house  at  Venice 
resembled  a  Noah's  ark,  containing  all  manner  of 
beasts.".  Pinelli  took  an  opportunity  of  his  corre- 
spondence with  Tycho  Brah6  to  recommend  Galileo 
"as  a  man  whose  friendship  would  be  worth  while 
cultivating."  Tycho  addressed  a  letter  to  Galileo, 
under  date  4th  May  1600,  but  the  acquaintance  went 
no  farther,  and  the  great  Dane  died  at  Prague, 
1 3th  October  1601. 

To  the  name  of  William  Harvey,  whom  we 
have  mentioned  above  as,  probably,  a  friend  of 
Galileo,  we  may  now  add  the  names  of  a  few 
others  of  English  and  Scotch  nationality,  as, 
Robert  Fludd,  "The  Father  of  the  English 
Rosicrucians,"  who  was  studying  in  Padua  circa 
1602  ;  Messrs  Moore  and  Willoughby,  both  of 
whom  are  mentioned  by  Coryat  in  his  "  Crudities," 
the  one  as  a  doctor  of  physic,  and  the  other  as 
a  learned  student  in  the  University.  Riqhard 
Willoughby  was  one  of  Galileo's  resident  pupils, 
and  evidently  did  him  credit,  for  amongst  the 
thousands  of  armorial  bearings,  etc.,  of  distin- 
guished members  of  the  University  which  cover 
its  walls,  appears  that  of  Willoughby ;  and  a  still 

,610]        THE     AIR    THERMOMETER          51 

greater  compliment  was  paid  him  by  the  Master 
in  the  presentation  of  a  copy,  with  an  autograph 
inscription,  of  the  "  Difesa  contro.  .  .  .  Baldassare 
Capra."  A  little  later,  Galileo  had  two  Scotch 
pupils  who  were  among  his  most  devoted  friends. 
These  were  John  Wodderborn  (or  Wedderburn), 
whom  we  shall  meet  with  later  on  as  his 
master's  champion ;  and  Thomas  Seggett,  who 
was  also  a  friend  of  Kepler,  and  in  whose 
"  Album  Amicorum,"  now  in  the  Vatican  library, 
Galileo  inscribed  his  name.1  Their  coats-of-arms 
and  memorial  tablets  are  also  on  the  University 

To  this  period  (1602)  may  be  referred  Galileo's 
invention  of  the  air  thermometer.  The  date  is 
uncertain,  for  while  Viviani  asserts  that  the  instru- 
ment was  designed  during  the  first  term  of  his 
Professorship  at  Padua  (1592-98),  other  evidence, 
on-  which  Galileo  rested  his  claim  when  contested 
some  years  later,  will  only  carry  us  back  to 
about  1602,  Thus,  Castelli,  writing  to  Ferdinando 
Cesarini,  2Oth  September  1638,  says: — 

"  I  remember  an  experiment  which  our  Signer 
Galileo  had  shown  me  more  than  thirty-five  years 
ago.  He  took  a  small  glass  bottle  about  the  size 
of  a  hen's  egg,  the  neck  of  which  was  two  palms 

1  Under  date  13th  August  1599.  Galileo's  signature,  followed  by 
a  few  verses  referring  to  the  telescope  and  the  discovery  of  Jupiter's 
moons,  is  also  in  Brinck's  album  (under  year  1614),  and,  curiously 
enough,  is  next  to  that  of  Cardinal  Bellarmine.  The  verses  are  given 
in  "Notes  and  Queries,"  January  1858,  p.  44. 

2  Professor  Darwin  gives  the  names  of  one  hundred  English  and 
Scotch  students  to  whom  memorial  tablets  are  erected.  See  his 
"  Monuments  to  Cambridge  Men  at  the  University  of  Padua." 
(Cambridge  Antiquarian  Society  Proceedings^  March  1894.) 



long  (about  22  inches),  and  as  narrow  as 
a  straw.  Having  well  heated  the  bulb  in  his 
hand,  he  inserted  its  mouth  in  a  vessel  containing 
a  little  water,  and,  withdrawing  the  heat  of  his 
hand  from  the  bulb,  instantly  the  water  rose  in 
the  neck  more  than  a  palm  above  its  level  in 
the  vessel.  It  is  thus  that  he  constructed  an 
instrument  for  measuring  the  degrees  of  heat 
and  cold." 

From  this  it  is  plain  that  the  instrument  con- 
sisted merely  of  a  glass  tube  ending  in  a  bulb, 
the  air  in  which,  being  partially 
expelled  by  heat,  was  replaced 
by  water  from  a  glass  vessel  into 
which  the  open  end  of  the  tube 
was  plunged.  The  different  de- 
grees of  temperature  would  then 
be  indicated  by  the  expansion  or 
contraction  of  the  air  which  re- 
mained in  the  bulb ;  so  that  the 
scale  would  be  the  reverse  of 
that  of  the  thermometer  now  in 
use,  for  the  water  would  stand 
at  the  highest  level  in  the  coldest 

So  long  as  the  orifice  of  the 
tube  remained  open,  this  instrument  could  not  be  an 
efficient  measurer  of  temperature,  for  it  was  impos- 
sible to  distinguish  the  expansive  and  contractive 
effects  of  heat  and  cold  from  the  effects  of  varying 
atmospheric  pressure.  It  was,  in  truth,  a  baro- 
meter as  well  as  thermometer,  although  Galileo 
apparently  did  not  recognise  its  utility  as  such. 


!6io]       THERMOMETER    PERFECTED    53 

Galileo's  friend,  Sagredo,  was  the  first  to  divide 
the  tube  into  100  degrees  in  1613.  He  also  appears 
to  have  experimented  with  closed  tubes  from  about 
1615  ;  but  it  was  not  until  many  years  after  (1653) 
that  the  practice  of  hermetically  closing  the  orifice 
after  exhausting  the  air  was  introduced.  The 
credit  of  this  capital  improvement  is  due  to 
Leopoldo  de  Medici,  brother  of  Ferdinando  II., 
who  adopted  the  plan  of  expelling  the  air  by 
boiling  the  spirit  and  sealing  the  end  of  the 
tube  whilst  the  contained  liquid  was  in  an  ex- 
panded state,  thus  depriving  the  instrument  of 
its  barometrical  character  and  making  it  a  true 

We  have  said  above  that  Galileo's  right  to  this 
invention  was  contested,  as  in  the  case  of  his 
geometrical  and  military  compass,  and  in  others  to 
which  we  shall  come  later  on.  It  was  claimed  for 
Porta,  Santorio,  and  Paolo  Sarpi,  in  Italy ;  for 
Robert  Fludd  and  Francis  Bacon  in  England ; 
and  for  the  Dutchman,  Drebbel.  But  in  disproof 
of  these  claims  it  will  be  enough  to  say  that  the 
first  mention  of  the  instrument  by  Porta  occurs  in 
1606,  by  Santorio  in  1612,  by  Sarpi  and  Fludd  in 
1617,  by  Bacon  in  1620,  and  by  Drebbel  in  1621. 

In  1604  the  attention  of  astronomers  was 
attracted  to  a  new  star  which  suddenly  appeared 
with  great  splendour  in  the  constellation  Serpen- 

1  About  1611-1612  Galileo  substituted  spirit  of  wine  for  water; 
and  later  still  Ferdinando  II.,  a  former  pupil  of  Galileo,  employed 
coloured  spirit  of  wine,  and  reduced  the  dimensions  of  the  tube. 
Mercury  was  first  used  by  Lana  in  1670.  The  Fahrenheit  scale  was 
adopted  in  1724,  that  of  Reaumur  in  1730,  and  the  Centigrade  scale 
by  Celsius  in  1742. 

54  PEOFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

tarius.      Maestlin,    who    was   one  of  the   first  to 
notice  it,  thus  describes  it : — 

"  How  wonderful  is  this  new  star !  I  am  certain 
that  I  did  not  see  it  before  2gth  September,  nor 
indeed,  on  account  of  several  cloudy  nights,  had  I 
a  good  view  till  6th  October.  Now  that  it  is  on 
the  other  side  of  the  sun,  instead  of  surpassing 
Jupiter  as  it  did,  and  almost  rivalling  Venus,  it 
scarcely  equals  the  Cor  Leonis,  and  hardly  sur- 
passes Saturn.  It  continues,  however,  to  shine 
with  the  same  bright  and  strongly  sparkling  light, 
and  changes  colour  almost  every  moment,  now 
tawny,  then  yellow,  presently  purple,  and  red,  and, 
when  it  has  risen  above  the  vapours,  most  frequently 

Galileo  appears  to  have  noticed  the  new  star 
very  soon  after  Maestlin,  i.e.  on  roth  October; 
and  (whether  by  accident  or  design  is  not 
known)  he  chose  for  the  subject  of  his  ordinary 
lectures  in  the  session  then  opening  the  theory 
of  the  planets.  This  afforded  his  auditors  the 
wished-for  opportunity  of  getting  his  views  on 
the  new  phenomenon,  the  appearance  of  which 
had  given  rise  to  the  most  bewildering  statements. 
Some  said  it  was  a  light  in  the  inferior  regions 
of  space — "the  elementary  sphere,"  but  they  did 
not  explain  how  it  got  there;  others,  that  it  was 
an  old  star  hitherto  unnoticed;  others  again, 
foqnding  their  opinion  on  abstruse  teleological 
grounds,  declared  that  new  stars  were  created 
by  God  from  time  to  time,  and  that  this  was 
one  of  them;  while,  to  add  to  the  confusion, 
the  astrologers  deduced  from  it  the  wildest 

i6io]  NEW     STAR     OF     1604  55 

After  carefully  watching  the  star  for  some 
time  (it  lasted  eighteen  months),  Galileo  resolved 
to  expound  his  views  in  three  extra-ordinary 
lectures,  which  were  delivered  to  the  public  in 
the  great  hall  (Aula  Magna)  of  the  University 
early  in  January  1605.  In  the  opening  sentences 
of  the  first  lecture,  which  are  the  only  parts 
preserved  to  us,  he  took  occasion  to  rebuke  his 
auditors  for  their  general  insensibility  to  the 
wonders  of  creation  daily  exposed  to  their  view, 
in  no  way  less  admirable  than  the  new  prodigy, 
to  hear  an  explanation  of  which  they  had  hurried 
in  crowds  to  his  lecture  room.  As  regards  the 
star  itself  we  know,  from  references  in  his  other 
writings,1  that  he  demonstrated  that  it  was  neither 
a  meteor,  nor  yet  a  body  existing  from  all  time, 
and  only  now  noticed,  but  a  body  which  had 
recently  appeared  and  would  again  vanish. 
Unlike  his  contemporaries,  Tycho  Brah£  and 
Kepler,  who  thought  that  new  stars  (and  comets) 
were  temporary  conglomerations  of  a  cosmical 
vapour  filling  space;  or,  as  is  now  thought,  the 
result  of  some  catastrophe  or  collision  whereby 
immense  masses  of  incandescent  gases  are  pro- 
duced, Galileo  suggested  that  they  might  be 
products  of  terrestrial  exhalations  of  extreme 
tenuity,  at  immense  distances  from  the  earth, 
and  reflecting  the  jsun's  rays — an  hypothesis  which, 
as  we  shall  see  later  on,  he  also  applied  to 
comets.  From  the  absence  of  parallax  he  showed 
that  the  new  star  could  not  be,  as  the  current 

1  "Difesa  contro  alle  Calunnieed  Imposture  d  Baldassare  Capra,'' 
and  "  Postille  al  Libro  d' Antonio  Rocco." 

56  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA  [1592- 

theory  held,  a  mere  meteor  engendered  in  our 
atmosphere,  and  nearer  to  us  than  the  moon,  but 
that  it  must  be  situated  among  the  most  remote 
heavenly  bodies. 

This  was  inconceivable  to  the  Aristotelians, 
whose  notions  of  a  perfect  and  unchangeable 
heaven,  subject  neither  to  growth  nor  to  decay, 
were  quite  at  variance  with  the  introduction  of 
any  such  new  body.  It  is  hard  to  say  whether 
Galileo's  colleagues,  bred  in  the  old  philosophy, 
were  more  annoyed  at  the  appearance  of  the  star, 
or  at  his  calling  attention  to  it  so  publicly  and 
forcibly.  Controversy  was  now  unavoidable  at 
Padua,  as  a  few  years  before  at  Pisa,  and  Galileo 
did  not  shirk  it.  He  boldly  threw  down  the 
gauntlet  in  favour  of  the  Copernican  theory,  and 
repudiated  the  old  systems  of  Aristotle  and  Ptolemy, 
which  up  to  that  time  he  had  taught  in  his  classes. 

The  Aristotelians  put  forth  one  of  their  best 
advocates,  Antonio  da  Montepulciano,  to  confute 
Galileo's  views,  and  the  latter  replied  in  the  only 
way  possible — by  ridicule.  With  the  aid  of  some 
of  his  pupils  he .  wrote  and  printed  an  exquisite 
squib  in  the  Paduan  dialect,  entitled,  "  Dialogo 
de  Cecco  di  Ronchitti  da  Bruzene  in  Perpuosito 
del  la  Stella  Nuova."1 

In  1604,  when  the  second  term  of  Galileo's 
Professorship  expired,  he  applied  for  its  renewal 
with  a  further  increase  of  salary ;  but,  as  usual,  the 
Venetian  authorities  were  slow  to  move.  At  this 

1  Padua,  1605,  edited  by  Girolamo  Spinelli.  Reprinted  with  a 
modern  Italian  version  in  Favaro's  edition  of  Galileo's  works, 
vol.  ii.  p.  307. 


i6io]       HISTORIC    LECTURE-DESK          57 

time  Vincenzio  Gonzaga,  the  reigning-  Duke  of 
Mantua,  was  anxious  to  attach  him  to  his  court 
and  person,  and  made  some  tempting  overtures, 
but  nothing  came  of  them.  However,  while  in 
Florence  during  the  summer  of  1605,  Galileo  took 
an  opportunity  of  interesting  his  young  pupil 
Cosimo,  son  of  the  Grand  Duke,  in  his  case ;  and 
at  length,  and  mainly  through  the  influence  of 
the  Tuscan  Ambassador  at  Venice  (prompted  by 
Cosimo),  he  was  reappointed  for  a  third  term  of 
six  years,  with  an  augmented  salary  of  520  florins 
(about  ^115),  by  decree  of  5th  August  1606. 

His  public  lectures  were  at  this  time  so  thronged 
that  the  ordinary  class-rooms,  large  as  they  were, 
were  often  insufficient  to  contain  his  audiences.  His 
more  popular  lectures,  as,  for  instance,  those  on  the 
new  star,  were  delivered  in  the  Aula  Magna,  the 
great  hall  of  the  University,  and  capable  of  holding 
1000  persons.  Even  this,  according  to  Drink  water, 
was  not  large  enough,  for  "  on  several  occasions  he 
was  obliged  to  adjourn  to  the  open  air."1 

The  Cattedra  (chair  or  lecture-desk)  which  then 
existed  in  the  Aula  Magna,  and  which  Galileo  has 
made  historical,  is  now  preserved  as  a  sacred  relic 
in  the  Stanze  di  Galileo  in  the  University  buildings. 
It  is  made  of  stout  rough-planed  planks,  untrimmed 
and  unpainted,  and  held  together  by  nails.  The 
Cattedra  shown  in  attached  drawing  is  a  modern 
structure.  Around  the  walls  are  hung  thousands 
of  coats  of  arms  of  professors  and  students  of  Padua 
who. became  distinguished  in  after  life. 

1  "  Life  of  Galileo"  (Library  of  Useful  Knowledge),  London,  1833, 
p.  1 6. 

58  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA    [1592-1610 

The  bust  on  pedestal  shown  on  the  left  of  the 
drawing  is  that  of  Galileo,  by  the  sculptor  Ferrari. 
It  was  presented  by  the  Archduke  Maximilian  of 
Austria  (the  ill-starred  Emperor  of  Mexico),  and 
bore  on  the  pedestal  an  inscription  to  that  effect. 
After  the  Austrians  were  driven  out  of  Italy  this 
inscription  was  effaced,  and  replaced  by  the  present 


GALILEO,    PROFESSOR   IN    PADUA — (continued) 

IN  1607  Galileo  had  been  studying  the  "  De 
Magnete"1  of  Dr  William  Gilbert  of  Colchester, 
a  book  which  had  for  him  always  a  great  fascina- 
tion, and  for  two  reasons — firstly,  its  arguments 
traversed  many  of  the  principles  of  the  Aristotelian 
School ;  and  secondly,  it  contained  a  number  of 
original  experiments  in  electricity  and  magnetism, 
coupled  with  philosophical  reflections  of  a  far-reaching 
kind,  which  appealed  to  his  own  daring  spirit. 

Up  to  Gilbert's  time  little  was  known  of 
magnetism.  The  attractive  power  of  the  load- 
stone was  known  to  Aristotle  and  Pliny,  and  the 
latter  appears  to  have  been  also  acquainted  with 
its  power  to  communicate  this  attractive  property 
to  other  bodies. 

The  polarity  of  the  magnet,  that  is,  its  power 
of  taking  up  a  north  and  south  direction  when 
freely  suspended,  was  known  to  the  Chinese  from 
a  very  early  period.  Thus,  in  the  second  century 
B.C.,  we  find  allusions  to  "magnetic  cars"  with 

1  "  Physiologia  Nova  de  Magnete,  Magnetic! sque  Corporibus," 
London,  1600.  From  a  letter  of  Fra  Paolo  Sarpi,  dated  nth 
September  1602,  it  would  appear  that  Galileo  in  that  year  first  became 
acquainted  with  Gilbert's  book. 


60  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

which  ambassadors  from  distant  countries  were 
provided,  in  order  that  they  should  not  miss  the 
way  on  their  return  home.  In  the  fourth  century 
of  our  era  Chinese  captains  employed  the  magnet 
to  direct  their  courses  across  the  open  seas ;  and 
it  was  through  these  that  the  knowledge  of  the 
compass  was  carried  to  India,  and  thence  to  the 
eastern  shores  of  Arabia  and  Africa.  The  Arabic 
designations  Zoron  and  Aphron  (south  and  north), 
which  Vincent  de  Beauvais1  gives  to  the  ends  of 
the  magnetic  needle,  indicate,  like  many  Arabic 
names  of  stars  which  we  still  employ,  the  source 
whence  Western  nations  received  the  elements  of 
their  scientific  knowledge. 

The  application  of  the  compass  to  navigation, 
doubtless,  soon  led  to  the  discovery  of  another 
property  of  the  magnet,  its  declination  or  variation 
from  the  north  pole,  according  to  locality.  It  must 
have  been  known  to  the  Chinese  in'  the  twelfth 
century,  as  it  is  mentioned  by  a  Chinese  philosopher 
who  wrote  about  the  year  mi.  And  Columbus 
made  the  same  discovery  on  his  first  voyage  to 
America  in  September  1492, 

The  inclination  or  dip  of  the  needle  was  noticed, 
but  hardly  understood,  by  George  Hartmann  in 
1544 ;  it  was  better  described  by  Fortuni  Affaytatus 
in  1549,  and  by  Martin  Cortes  in  1551  ;  but  it 
only  became  generally  known  through  the  labours 
of  Robert  Norman,  a  nautical  instrument  maker 
of  Wapping,  who  began  his  experiments  in  1576, 
and  published  an  account  of  them  in  his  "  Newe 
Attractive,"  1581. 

1  In  his  "  Speculum  Naturale,"  first  published  in  Paris,  1473. 

i6io]         GALILEO'S    ARMATURES  61 

Doubtless,  owing  to  his  other  occupations, 
Galileo's  researches  in  magnetism  did  not  take 
him  far.  The  main  results  are  given  in  two  letters 
to  Curzio  Picchena,  Chief  Secretary  to  the  Grand 
Duke  of  Tuscany,  dated  i6th  November  and 
gth  December  1607.  From  these  we  learn  that 
he  had  made  many  experiments  with  loadstones, 
which  resulted  in  his  devising  an  armature  by 
which  the  portative  force  of  a  stone  could  be  con- 
siderably increased.  He  observed  that  the  longer 
a  stone  sustains  a  weight  the  more  it  gains  in 
strength.  He  also  found  that  smaller  stones  were 
usually  more  powerful  than  larger  ones.  Thus, 
a  small  stone  which  he  had  picked  up  in  Venice 
was  much  more  powerful  than  one  of  5  Ibs.  belong- 
ing to  his  friend,  Sagredo.  This  latter  could 
normally  sustain  a  weight  of  6^  Ibs,  but  when 
provided  with  Galileo's  armature  it  was  capable 
of  supporting  more  than  12  Ibs.  By  breaking  up 
large  stones  and  shaping  the  pieces  in  a  certain 
way  he  was  able  to  make  each  piece  sustain  thirty 
to  forty  times  the  weight  borne  by  the  original 
stone.  The  Abbe  Castelli  tells  us  in  his  treatise 
on  the  magnet  (circa  1639-40)  : — 

"  I  have  seen  such  a  loadstone,  only  6  ozs.  in 
weight,  armed  with  iron  by  the  untiring  industry  of 
Signor  Galileo,  and  presented  to  his  Highness  the 
Grand  Duke  Ferdinando,  which  lifts  15  Ibs.  of  iron 
worked  into  the  shape  of  a  sepulchre." l 

1  This  form  was  probably  suggested  by  the  legend  of  Mohammed's 
coffin  suspended  in  the  air  by  loadstones.  Sir  Isaac  Newton  is  said 
to  have  had  a  stone,  set  in  a  ring,  which  weighed  only  3  grains,  yet 
was  able  to  support  746  grains.  A  Galilean  stone  and  armature  are 
now  shown  in  the  Tribuna  di  Galileo  in  Florence. 

62  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

Gilbert  was  one  of  the  first  persons  who  arrived 
at  general,  though  confused,  notions  on  the  subject 
of  gravitation.  In  his  "  De  Magnete  "  he  explains  the 
influence  of  the  earth  upon  the  moon  by  comparing 
the  former  to  a  huge  loadstone  ;  and  in  another 
work,  not,  however,  published  until  many  years 
after  his  death/  he  gives  his  opinions  at  greater 
length.  In  this  treatise  he  asserts  that  the  earth 
and  the  moon  act  upon  each  other  like  two  mag- 
nets, but  the  influence  of  the  earth  must  be  greater 
than  that  of  the  moon,  on  account  of  its  greater 
mass.  Again,  although  the  influence  is  magnetic  in 
it$  nature  it  does  not  show  itself  as  in  ordinary 
magnets,  "It  is  not,"  he  says,  "so  as  to  make 
the  bodies  unite  like  two  magnets,  but  that  they 
may  go  on  in  a  continuous  course/1  In  another 
place  he  ascribes  the  tides  partly  to  the  influence 
of  the  moon. 

These  speculations  of  the  English  philosopher 
had  a  strange  fascination  for  Galileo.  In  1608,  he 
had  the  idea  of  recording  their  importance  in  a 
medal,  which  he  proposed  to  strike  on  the  occasion 
of  the  marriage  of  his  pupil,  Prince  Cosimo,  and 
the  Archduchess  Madeleine  of  Austria.  Under 
the  name,  Cosmos,  he  proposed  to  engrave  the 
figure  of  the  prince,  and  a  magnet  from  which 
depended  several  pieces  of  iron,  with  the  mottoes : 
"  Vim  Facit  Amor/'  and  "  Magnus  Magnes  Cosmos." 

In  the  third  "  Day "  of  his  Dialogues  on  the 
Ptolemaic  and  Copernican  systems,  published  in 

1  "  De  Mundo  Nostro  Sublunari,"  Amsterdam,  1651.  Gilbert  died 
in  1603,  aged  63.  Leonard  Digges  and  his  son,  Thomas,  Gilbert's 
contemporaries,  held  the  same  view. 

,6io]  NEEDLE    TELEGRAPH  63 

1632,  he  utilises  his  own  early  magnetic  observa- 
tions, and  warmly  acknowledges  the  merits  of 
Gilbert's  work,  declaring  that  his  marvellous 
conception  of  the  earth  as  a  great  loadstone  was 
to  him  a  subject  of  praise,  admiration,  and  envy. 
The  passage  is  worth  quoting : — 

"  I  extremely  praise,  admire,  and  envy  this 
author.  I  think  him,  moreover,  worthy  of  the 
greatest  praise  for  the  many  new  and  true  obser- 
vations that  he  has  made,  to  the  disgrace  of  so 
many  vain  and  fabling  authors,  who  write,  not  from 
their  own  knowledge,  but  repeat  everything  they 
hear  from  the  foolish  vulgar,  without  attempting  to 
satisfy  themselves  of  the  same  by  experiment — 
perhaps  that  they  may  not  diminish  the  size  of  their 

Here  he  is  evidently  tilting  at  the  " Scientific" 
writers,  numerous  in  his  and  the  following  century, 
who  filled  their  books  with  fables  about  the  all- 
embracing  powers  and  virtues  of  the  magnet,  and 
on  which  charlatans  traded  and  grew  fat.  One 
such  person  he  appears  to  have  met  in  Venice,  of 
whom  he  gives  an  amusing  account  in  the  same 
Dialogues,  at  the  end  of  the  first  "  Day/'  One 
of  the  speakers,  Sagredo,  commenting  on  the 
remarks  of  the  previous  speaker,  says  : — 

"You  remind  me  of  one  who  offered  to  sell  me 
a  secret  art,  by  which,  through  the  attraction  of  a 
certain  magnetic  needle,  it  would  be  possible  to 
converse  across  a  space  of  two  or  three  thousand 
miles.  And  I  said  to  him  that  I  would  willingly 
become  the  purchaser,  provided  only  that  I  might 
first  make  a  trial  of  the  art,  and  that  it  would  be 
sufficient  for  the  purpose  if  I  were  to  place  myself 

64  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [i592. 

in  one  corner  of  the  room  and  he  in  the  other.  He 
replied,  that  in  so  short  a  distance  the  action  would 
be  scarcely  discernible ;  whereupon  I  dismissed  the 
fellow,  saying  that  it  was  not  convenient  for  me  just 
then  to  travel  into  Egypt,  or  Muscovy,  for  the 
purpose  of  trying  the  experiment,  but  that  if  he 
chose  to  go  there  himself,  I  would  remain  in  Venice 
and  attend  to  the  rest." 

During  his  residence  at  Padua  Galileo  was  in 
the  habit  of  returning  to  Florence  for  the  long 
summer  holidays.  On  these  occasions  for  some 
years,  and  beginning  about  1601,  he  gave  instruc- 
tions in  mathematics  to  the  young  prince,  Cosimo 
(born  1590),  there  being,  apparently,  no  one  in 
Florence  whom  the  Grand  Duke  thought  capable 
of  carrying  on  this  branch  of  the  boy's  education. 
Galileo,  of  course,  was  duly  sensible  of  the  honour 
done  in  thus  selecting  him  as  the  young  prince's 
mathematical  tutor ;  and  the  arrangement  was 
desirable  for  other  reasons — it  added  to  his  income, 
always  a  serious  matter  ;  and  it  gained  him  the 
esteem  and  friendship  of  the  reigning  family  of 
Tuscany,  which,  although  not  able  (as  we  shall  see) 
to  protect  him  entirely  from  misfortunes,  was  still 
strong  enough  to  make  his  troubles  lighter  than 
they  would  otherwise  have  been. 

While  the  Grand  Duke  was  wont  to  declare 
that  Galileo  was  the  greatest  mathematician  in  all 
Christendom,  his  wife,  the  Grand  Duchess  Cristina, 
believed  him  to  be  the  greatest  of  astrologers,  and 
at  the  commencement  of  wha?  proved  to  be  her 
husband's  last  illness,  she  begged  him  to  correct  his 
horoscope!  He  did  so/  and  communicated  the 


result  in  a  letter  of  i6th  January  1609,  according 
to  which  Ferdinando  I.  had  still  many  years  to 
live.  Galileo's  prognostic  was  speedily  proved  to 
be  false,  as  the  Grand  Duke  died  twenty-two 
days  after ! 

Florence,  from  the  earliest  period,  was  noted  for 
its  cultivation  of  the  rites  of  sacrifice  and  divination, 
and  during  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  centuries, 
astrology  was  taught  in  the  Universities  of  Italy, 
and  in  particular  at  Padua  and  Bologna.  Even  in 
the  succeeding  three  centuries,  and  in  spite  of 
advancing  knowledge,  judicial  astrology  still  held 
sway  over  the  hopes  and  fears,  not  only  of  the  vulgar, 
but  of  the  highest  and  best  educated  classes.1 

No  wonder,  then,  if  Galileo,  more  temporum, 
dabbled  in  horoscopes  ;  but  it  is  not  to  be  supposed 
that  a  mind,  which  early  discarded  the  trammels  of 
ancient  sciences,  and  took  nothing  on  trust  or  mere 
authority,  could  really  have  believed  in  them.  We 
prefer  to  consider  his  action  in  this,  and  other 
instances,  in  the  light  of  a  pious  fraud.2 

Having  brought  our  account  of  Galileo's  public 
career  up  to  the  eve  (1609)  of  his  immortal  discoveries 

1  Even  grave  astronomers  and  mathematicians  were  not  exceptions. 
Thus,  to  mention  only  a  few,  Cardan,  the  algebraist,  starved  himself 
to  death  so  that  his  prognostic  as  to  that  event  should  be  fulfilled. 
Tycho  Brahe  and  Kepler  dabbled  in  the  art,  and  the  latter  helped  to 
maintain  his  family  by  casting  nativities  and  publishing  a  yearly 
almanac,  the  prototype  of  our  modern  "  Moore."  Poor  Kepler  could 
not  get  his  salary  from  the  authorities  at  Prague,  and  so  was  driven 
to  astrology,  as  the  only  thing  that  would  pay,  and  on  it  he  lived  for 
years.  Finally,  Francis  Bacon  and  Thomas  Browne,  typical  wise 
men  of  England,  thought  that  there  was  much  truth  in  a  sober  and 
well-regulated  astrology. 

2  For  more  on  this  subject  see  Favaro's  "Galileo  Astrologo 
secondo  document!  editi  ed  inediti,"  Trieste,  1881  ;  or  his '"Galileo  e 
Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  61. 


66  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [i592- 

in  astronomy,  we  must,  before  proceeding,  retrace 
our  steps  and  give  some  account  of  his  private  life. 

We  have  seen  that  by  the  death  of  his  father,  in 
1591,  he  had  become  the  head  of  the  family.  This 
position,  always  attaching  a  grave  responsibility  to 
its  possessor,  was  at  this  time,  and  particularly  in 
the  present  case,  fraught  with  much  anxiety.  Not 
only  had  Galileo,  on  his  slender  resources,  to  keep 
himself  in  Padua  and  provide  for  the  requirements 
of  the  household  in  Florence,  but  it  was  his  duty  to 
see  to  his  brother's  setting  out  in  life,  and  a  still 
more  sacred  duty,  to  find  a  suitable  husband  for  his 
unmarried  sister,  Livia.  In  Italy  in  those  days,  a 
girl's  education  being  finished,  two  paths  were  open 
— not  always  for  her  to  choose.  One  led  to  the 
cloister,  the  other  to  the  house  of  a  husband.  It 
had,  apparently,  been  the  family  intention  for  Livia 
to  take  the  veil,  but  so  great  was  her  aversion  to  a 
convent  life,  that  her  brother  did  not  insist,  much  as 
the  arrangement  would  have  saved  him  in  trouble 
and  expense. 

Though  his  sister,  Virginia,  had  been  married  to 
Benedetto  Landucci  before  the  father's  death,  the 
burden  of  providing  the  dowry  had  fallen  on  Galileo, 
who,  pressed  on  all  sides  for  money,  had  been 
unable  immediately  to  pay  the  amount.  At  length, 
in  May  1593,  not  choosing  to  wait  any  longer,  and 
not  caring  who  went  short  so  long  as  he  got  his  due, 
Landucci  threatened  to  proceed  to  harsh  measures — 
in  fact,  to  have  Galileo  arrested  for  debt  the  next 
time  he  set  foot  in  Florence ! l 

1  "  If  you  come  here  next  month  I  shall  be  rejoiced  to  see  you, 
only  you  must  not  come  unprovided  with  funds,  for  I  hear  that 

x6io]  FAMILY     AFFAIRS  67 

Livia  writing  to  her  brother,  ist  May  1593,  shows 
how  all  looked  to  him  as  to  a  Father  Bountiful  : — 

"  As  our  Lena1  is  going  to  join  you  in  Padua  I 
could  not  help  sending  by  her  these  few  lines  to  tell 
you  about  myself,  and,  though  your  lordship  may 
not  care  to  hear  about  me,  I  care  to  hear  about  you, 
for  I  have  no  one  in  the  world  but  you.  So  please 
be  so  kind  as  to  answer,  that  I  may  have  that  little 
bit  of  pleasure.  Though  your  lordship  writes  to 
our  mother,  she  never  brings  me  your  letters — only 
says,  'Your  brother  sends  his  love.'  She  told  me 
lately  your  lordship  was  going  to  send  Michelangelo 
to  Poland.  I  was  at  first  extremely  grieved  at 
hearing  this,  but  then  I  comforted  myself  by  saying  : 
4  If  Galileo  thought  it  was  a  dangerous  place  he 
would  not  send  him/  for  I  know  that  you  love  him 
dearly.  Besides  that,  I  heard  you  were  soon  coming 
here,  and  it  will  seem  a  thousand  years  till  you 
arrive!  Please  do  remember  to  bring  me  some 
stuff  to  make  a  dress,  for  I  am  in  great  need  of 

Galileo  had  some  difficulty  in  giving  his  brother 
a  start  in  life.  He  had  desired  for  him  some  post  at 
the  Grand  Ducal  court,  but  there  seemed  to  be  no 
opening,  though  his  musical  talents  and  elegant 
manners  had  gained  for  him  many  friends  in  Florence. 
Early  in  1593  he  joined  Galileo  in  Padua,  in  the 
hope  of  obtaining,  if  not  permanent  employment  as 

Benedetto  is  determined  to  have  his  own,  and  menaces  loudly  that  he 
will  have  you  arrested  the  instant  you  arrive.  He  is  just  the  man  to 
do  it,  so  I  warn  you,  for  it  would  grieve  me  much  if  anything  of  the 
kind  were  to  happen."— (Extract  from  Madam  Giulia's  letter  to  Galileo, 
dated  29th  May  1593.) 

1  Nothing  is  known  of  this  sister.  She  appears  as  Elena  in  the 
family  genealogy,  and  is  supposed  by  some  biographers  to  have 
married  and  settled  in  Padua.  Professor  Favaro  could  find  nothing 
to  substantiate  this  story. 

68  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

a  musician,  at  least  some  pupils  from  amongst  the 
many  foreign  students  of  the  University.  Of  the 
Polish  scheme,  to  which  Livia  refers  in  the  above 
letter,  nothing  is  known  beyond  the  fact  that 
Michelangelo  did  go  to  Poland,  but  was  soon 
back  again  on  his  brother's  hands.  At  length,  early 
in  1600,  the  offer  of  the  Polish  prince  (name  un- 
known) 1  was  renewed  on  very  favourable  terms,  and 
the  young  man  set  out  on  his  second  voyage  in 
August  of  that  year,  provided  with  an  outfit  and 
money  by  Galileo.  Michelangelo,  with  his  "  elegant 
manners/'  would  evidently  be  in  his  element  there, 
for  he  was  to  have  a  place  at  the  prince's  table  ;  be 
dressed  like  the  first  gentlemen  of  his  court ;  have 
two  servants  to  wait  upon  him ;  a  coach  and  four ; 
200  Hungary  ducats  yearly  (about  300  Italian  scudi) ; 
and  perquisites ! 

Livia  was  by  this  time  getting  tired  of  convent  life, 
and  was  plaguing  her  mother  to  find  her  a  husband. 
Madam  Giulia  did  so,  and  informed  Galileo,  upon 
whom  of  course  would  lie  the  burden  of  finding  the 
dot.  Replying  on  yth  August  1600,  he  says  : — 

"  From  your  letter  and  that  of  Mr  Piero  Sali, 
I  hear  of  the  proposed  match  for  our  Livia,  as  to 
which  I  do  not  see  how  I  am  to  act,  for,  though 
from  what  Mr  Piero  says,  I  esteem  it  desirable, 
yet  it  is  impossible  for  me  to  consent  to  it  just  at 
present  The  reason  is  this  [here  he  enters  into 
details  of  Michelangelo's  Polish  engagement,  and 
goes  on],  I  of  course  must  provide  him  with  money, 
and  besides,  the  prince  wishes  him  to  bring  certain 
things ;  so  that  what  with  these  articles  and  what 
he  requires  for  himself,  I  cannot  avoid  spending  less 

1  Probably  one  of  the  Radziwil  family. 

1610]  FAMILY     AFFAIRS  69 

than  200  scudi.  Now,  you  know  what  expenses  I 
have  had  this  last  year,  so  that  I  really  cannot  do 
as  I  would.  On  the  other  hand,  Sister  Contessa 
[Superioress  of  the  Convent  St  Giuliano]  writes 
that  on  all  accounts  I  ought  to  take  Livia  away 
from  the  convent,  as  she  hates  remaining  there. 
Now,  as  she  has  waited  so  long,  I  should  like  her 
to  be  well  and  comfortably  settled.  If  I  am  to 
believe  Sr.  Piero,  this  Pompeo  Baldi  [the  selected 
bridegroom]  is  a  good  sort  of  man,  yet  hearing  that, 
including  his  private  income,  he  has  not  100  ducats 
yearly,  I  do  not  see  how  a  household  is  to  be  main- 
tained on  that  sum.  Therefore  I  would,  if  possible, 
have  the  matter  deferred.  Michelangelo  will,  with- 
out fail,  send  me  a  good  sum  of  money  as  soon  as 
he  gets  to  his  destination,  and  with  this,  joined  to 
what  I  can  get  together,  we  may  take  measures  for 
establishing  the  child,  since  she  too  is  determined  to 
come  out  and  partake  of  the  miseries  of  this  world. 
Meanwhile,  I  wish  you  would  see  about  taking  her 
away  from  St  Giuliano  and  placing  her  in  some 
other  convent  till  her  turn  comes,  and  persuade  her 
that  she  will  lose  nothing  by  waiting.  Tell  her 
that  there  have  been  queens  and  great  ladies  who 
have  not  married  till  they  were  old  enough  to  be  her 
mother.  Therefore,  pray  see  her  as  soon  as  you 
possibly  can,  and  give  the  enclosed  letter  to  Sister 
Contessa.  She  has  been  asking  me  to  pay  what  is 
due  for  Livia's  board.  Find  out  the  amount,  and  I 
will  send  it  at  once." 

Depending  on  his  brother's  promised  help  in 
meeting  Livia's  dowry,  Galileo  made  up  a  new 
match  between  her  and  a  Pisan  gentleman,  Taddeo 
Galletti,  on  ist  January  1601,  promising  a  dot  of 
1800  ducats,  of  which  600  ready  cash,  and  a» 
trousseau  (worth  200),  were  to  be  paid  down,  and  the 
rest  to  be  paid  within  five  years.  But  of  this  800  he 

70  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

had  to  borrow  600,  relying  on  his  brother's  assur- 
ances of  a  speedy  remittance  from  Poland.  Vain 
hopes!  Livia  had  been  married  nearly  a  year, 
and  Michelangelo  had  neither  repaid  the  money 
advanced  for  his  own  outfit,  nor  contributed  to 
his  sister's  dowry.  Writing  to  him  2Oth  Novem- 
ber 1 60 1,  Galileo  thus  expresses  his  resentment  of 
such  ungrateful  conduct : — 

"  Though  you  have  sent  no  answer  whatever  to 
any  of  the  four  letters  which  I  have  written  within 
the  last  ten  months,  I  nevertheless  write  and  repeat 
what  I  have  said.  I  would  rather  think  that  all  my 
letters  had  missed  you,  or  any  other  unlikely  thing, 
than  that  you  meant  to  be  wanting  in  your  duty  not 
only  in  answering  my  letters,  but  in  sending  money 
to  pay  the  debts  which  we  owe  to  various  persons, 
and  in  particular  to  Signor  Taddeo  Galletti,  our 
brother-in-law.  If  I  had  imagined  things  were 
going  to  turn  out  in  this  manner,  I  would  not  have 
given  the  child  in  marriage,  or  else  I  would  have 
given  her  only  such  a  dowry  as  I  was  able  to  pay 
myself  without  assistance,  since  I  seem  to  be  fated 
to  bear  every  burden  alone.  I  beg  that  you  will, 
without  delay,  have  a  deed  drawn  out  and  wit- 
nessed by  a  public  notary,  in  which  there  shall  be 
an  acknowledgment  of  your  being  bound  to  pay 
the  said  dowry  to  Signor  Taddeo  jointly  with  me. 
I  insist  on  this  being  done  without  delay,  and, 
above  all,  I  desire  that  you  will  write  and  give 
some  news  of  yourself,  for  every  one  is  feeling 
anxious  about  you,  there  having  been  no  word  of 
your  whereabouts  since  you  left  Cracow." 

Michelangelo  never  paid  a  farthing  for  years, 
and  then  only  a  small  fraction  (50  crowns)  of  what 
he  owed.  In  1605  he  was  back  again  in  Padua, 

i6io]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  71 

living  at  Galileo's  expense,  till  the  latter  succeeded 
in  getting  him  a  post  as  music  master  in  the  court 
of  the  Duke  of  Bavaria.  That  he  should  spend 
his  gains  upon  himself  and,  when  spent,  fall  back 
upon  his  brother,  seemed  to  him  a  matter  of  course. 
Selfish  as  he  was  conceited,  never  from  first  to  last 
could  he  be  brought  to  see  that,  when  he  had  more 
than  enough  for  his  legitimate  expenses,  the  helping 
of  relations  became  at  once  a  sacred  duty. 

For  cool  effrontery  and  heartless  cynicism  the 
following  letter  of  4th  March  1 608,  to  Galileo,  is,  we 
hope,  not  often  paralleled : — 

"  I  was  glad  to  get  your  letter,  and,  though  it 
was  full  of  complaints,  still  I  am  pleased  to  find  that 
you  do  not  despise  me  quite  so  much  as  I  had 
imagined.  Now  I  will  answer  you  about  the  claims 
of  our  brothers-in-law.  My  dear  brother,  if  I  have 
not  been  able  to  pay  them  as  I  certainly  should 
have  liked  to  do,  I  do  not  see  that  you  can  blame  me 
so  much.  You  complain  of  my  having  spent  such 
a  large  sum  of  money  on  one  feast ;  I  do  not  deny 
that  the  sum  was  large,  but  just  consider  that  it  was 
on  the  occasion  of  my  wedding.  There  were  more 
than  eighty  persons  present,  among  whom  were 
many  gentlemen  of  importance,  and  among  these 
there  were  no  less  than  four  ambassadors.  Had  I 
not  followed  the  custom  of  the  country,  I  should 
have  been  put  to  shame,  so  that  I  was  forced  to 
spend  what  I  did,  and  indeed  could  not  possibly 
have  managed  with  less.  You  cannot  accuse  me 
of  ever  having  spent  such  sums  of  money  simply 
for  my  own  gratification,  never,  indeed,  have  I 
thrown  money  away  on  anything,  but,  on  the 
contrary,  have  often  denied  myself  what  I  wanted 
in  order  to  save.  You  say  that  it  does  not  serve 
your  turn  for  me  to  write  and  tell  you  that  *  God 

72  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

will  not  be  pleased  if  you  keep  up  a  feeling  of 
rancour  against  me/  Of  course,  I  know  it  will  not 
serve  your  turn ;  I  did  not  write  it  supposing  that 
it  would  help  you  to  get  rid  of  the  debt  to  our  two 
brothers-in-law.  As  to  that  matter,  I  tell  you 
shortly  that  I  will  do  what  I  can,  and,  indeed,  will 
put  myself  to  every  inconvenience  rather  than  not 
satisfy  their  claims  in  part;  but  as  to  my  finding 
1400  crowns,  which  is  the  sum  still  remaining  to  be 
paid,  I  know  that  I  cannot  do  it,  and  never  shall, 
for  I  find  it  scarcely  possible  to  pay  the  interest. 
You  should  have  given  our  sisters  a  dowry,  not 
merely  in  conformity  with  your  own  ideas  of  what 
was  right  and  fitting,  but  in  conformity  with  the 
size  of  my  purse.  God  knows  that  if  I  have  not 
paid  off  my  share  it  is  because  I  could  not.  When 
I  sent  you  those  50  crowns,  Signor  Cosimo  lent 
me  30  of  them,  and  I  have  not  yet  repaid  him, 
though  I  must  soon,  as  he  writes  saying  he  wants 
one  of  my  lutes!  By  and  bye  I  will  borrow 
another  50  crowns  and  send  you.  I  cannot 
promise  more,  since  for  these  last  few  months  I 
have  been  obliged  to  spend  a  great  deal  on  my 
house.  I  know  you  will  say  that  I  should  have 
waited  and  thought  of  our  sisters  before  taking  a 
wife.  But,  good  heavens !  the  idea  of  toiling  all 
one's  life  just  to  put  by  a  few  farthings  to  give  one's 
sisters  !  This  joke  would  be  indeed  too  heavy  and 
bitter,  for  I  am  more  than  certain  that  in  thirty 
years  I  could  not  have  saved  enough  to  cover  this 
debt.  God  help  me !  I  would  do  more  if  I  could. 
Have  a  little  pity  on  me  and  consider ;  you  cannot 
say  that  I  ever  had  the  heart  to  gratify  my  own 
liking  without  caring  about  others.  You  may  say 
that  my  having  married  is  a  proof  that  I  care  not 
for  paying  my  debts  as  long  as  I  can  gratify  my 
own  liking.  To  this  I  shall  make  no  answer.  God 
knows  I  am  thankful  to  have  my  wife,  and  I  hope 

1610]  GALILEO'S    CHILDREN  73 

He  will  enable  me  to  carry  out  my  desire  in  satis- 
fying this  debt.  I  shall  say  no  more,  but  I  trust 
you  will  consider  me  a  good  brother,  for  I  will  do 
all  I  can  to  send  you  some  assistance,  since  you  say 
it  is  all  my  fault  that  you  are  in  such  distress.  But 
excuse  me,  if  I  failed  hitherto  it  was  because  I 
could  not  help  it. 

"  I  understand  that  you  are  going  to  send  the 
case  of  lutes  shortly.  I  have  been  expecting  its 
arrival  with  some  impatience ;  for  during  this  Lent 
I  am  in  great  want  of  them  for  playing  concerted 
music,  and  to  have  them  quicker  I  would  not  mind 
paying  something  more  for  the  carriage." 

Galileo  must  have  been  more  than  human  not  to 
feel  some  resentment  at  the  selfishness  displayed  in 
this  rambling  epistle,  H  is  anger,  however,  was  short- 
lived. In  1610,  the  brothers  had  again  resumed 
their  correspondence,  and  from  that  time  Michel- 
angelo never  failed,  as  we  shall  see,  to  write  whenever 
he  wanted  his  brother's  assistance.  The  50  crowns 
mentioned  in  his  letter  are  probably  all  that  he 
ever  paid  to  his  long-suffering  brother. 

As  if  the  worries  and  burdens  of  his  father's 
family  were  not  enough,  Galileo  must  needs  add 
to  them  the  cares  of  a  family  of  his  own.  In  1599, 
he  entered  into  amorous  relations  with  a  Venetian 
lady,  Marina  Gamba,  by  whom  he  had  three 
children,  Virginia,  born  I3th  August  1600;  Livia, 
born  1 8th  August  1601  ;  and  Vincenzio,  born  2ist 
August  1606. 


GALILEO,  PROFESSOR   IN    PADUA — (continued) 

EARLY  in  the  month  of  October  1 608,  the  telescope 
was  invented  in  Holland,  and,  according  to  all 
accounts,  its  discovery  was  the  result  of  an  accident. 
Long  ago  Epicurus  defined  the  universe  and  all 
that  it  contains  as  the  result  of  a  fortuitous  con- 
course of  atoms,  and  so  it  is  very  often  in  the 
arts  and  sciences  of  man,  great  discoveries  are  the 
result  of  the  fortuitous  juxtaposition  of  two  and 
two.  In  the  present  case,  and  as  the  story  goes, 
an  apprentice,  playing  with  spectacle  lenses  in  the 
shop  of  one  Hans  Lipperhey,  an  optician  of 
Middleburg,  noticed  that  by  holding  two  of  them 
in  a  certain  position  a  large  and  inverted  view  of 
objects  was  obtained.  On  hearing  of  this  the 
master  fixed  two  glasses  in  a  tube,  so  that  the 
weather-cock  on  a  neighbouring  church  spire  could 
be  seen  apparently  nearer  and  upside  down.  This 
toy  was  shown  in  his  window,  where  one  day  the 
Marquis  Spinola  chanced  to  see  it,  and  entered 
the  shop  to  examine  it.  Struck  by  the  strange 
phenomenon  it  presented,  he  purchased  the  instru- 
ment, and  afterwards  gave  it  to  Prince  Maurice  of 

Portrait  of  Galileo,  aged  about  40. 

[To  face  p.  74. 

i592-x6io]   INVENTION    OF    TELESCOPE  75 

Nassau,  who  thought  it  might  be  useful  in  military 

Among  the  Acts  of  the  States-General  pre- 
served at  the  Hague,  Professor  Van  Swinden  found 
some  interesting  papers  relating  to  this  matter. 
On  2nd  October  1608  the  States  Assembly  took 
into  consideration  a  petition  of  Lipperhey  for  the 
exclusive  right  of  making  and  selling  an  instrument 
for  seeing  at  a  distance.  They  suggested  that  the 
instrument  should  be  arranged  so  as  to  enable  one 
to  look  through  it  with  both  eyes.  A  trial  was 
fixed  for  the  4th  October,  and  it  was  resolved  that, 
if  it  should  be  found  useful,  an  engagement  should 
be  entered  into  with  the  inventor  to  make  three 
such  instruments  of  rock  crystal,  and  that  he 
should  be  bound  not  to  divulge  the  secret  to 
anybody.  The  trial  on  the  4th  was  apparently 
satisfactory,  for  two  days  later  the  Assembly 
voted  Lipperhey  900  florins.  On  i5th  December 
they  examined  his  arrangement  of  the  instrument 
"  to  see  with  both  eyes,"  and  approved  it ;  but,  as 
others  by  this  time  had  a  knowledge  of  the  in- 
vention, they  refused  to  grant  him  the  exclusive 
privilege  of  making  and  selling  it.  They,  how- 
ever, gave  him  an  order  to  make,  for  the  use 
of  the  Government,  two  other  instruments  "  to 
see  with  both  eyes,"  allowing  him  the  same 
remuneration  as  in  the  first  instance. 

Of  the  others  referred  to  above,  one  was 
James  Metius  of  Alkmaer,  who  claimed  the  in- 
vention in  a  petition,  dated  I7th  October,  or 
fifteen  days  after  Lipperhey.  In  this  petition  he 
declares  that  the  idea  occurred  to  him  accidentally 

76  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [r592_ 

while  engaged  on  other  experiments,  and  that  he 
had  now  succeeded  so  far  in  perfecting  his  in- 
vention "as  to  make  distant  objects  appear  as 
distinct  by  it  as  by  the  instrument  which  had 
lately  been  offered  to  the  States/'  Apparently 
the  instrument  of  Metius  was  not  so  good  as  he 
said,  for  he  was  advised  to  bring  it  to  greater 
perfection,  when  his  petition  for  a  privilege  would 
be  taken  into  consideration. 

Very  soon  a  third  claimant  appeared  in  the 
person  of  Zacharias  Jansen,  also  an  optician  and 
a  near  neighbour  of  Lipperhey.  As  regards  this 
claim,  the  truth  would  seem  to  be  that  Jansen,  as 
far  back  as  1590,  had  really  constructed  the 
microscope ;  and  that,  on  hearing  of  Lipperhey's 
invention,  he  adapted  his  own  instrument  from 
seeing  things  near  to  seeing  things  at  a  distance; 
and  so  he  was  able,  with  some  show  of  reason,  to 
claim  the  invention.1 

Leaving  this  part  of  the  subject,  the  fact  for 
us  at  present  is  that  reports  of  the  invention, 
more  or  less  vague,  spread  slowly  over  Europe, 
and  reached  our  philosopher  while  on  a  short 
visit  to  Venice  about  the  middle  of  June  1609. 
As  Galileo's  independent  invention  of  the  tele- 
scope, like  so  many  more  of  his  discoveries,  has 
been  denied  or  belittled  by  envious  detractors  in 
his  own  and  later  times,  the  story  had  best  be 
told  in  his  own  words.  In  a  letter  from  Venice 
to  his  brother-in-law  Landucci,  dated  29th  August 
1609,  he  says  : — 

1  For  more  on  this  subject  see  Professor  Moll's  paper  in  Journal, 
Royal  Institution^  vol.  i.  pp.  3 19  and  483. 

X6w]    EXHIBITION    OF    TELESCOPE      77 

"  I  write  now  because  I  have  a  piece  of  news 
for  you,  though  whether  you  will  be  glad  or  sorry 
to  hear  it  I  cannot  say,  for  I  have  now  no  hope 
of  returning  to  my  own  country,1  though  the  oc- 
currence which  has  destroyed  that  hope  has  had 
results  both  useful  and  honourable.  You  must 
know  then  that  about  two  months  ago  \i.e.  about 
June  1609]  a  ^port  was  spread  here  that  in 
Flanders  a  spy-glass  had  been  presented  to  Prince 
Maurice,  so  ingeniously  constructed  that  it  made 
the  most  distant  objects  appear  quite  near,  so 
that  a  man  could  be  seen  quite  plainly  at  a 
distance  of  2  miles.  This  result  seemed  to  me 
so  extraordinary  that  it  set  me  thinking,  and  as 
it  appeared  to  me  that  it  depended  upon  \  the  laws 
of  perspective,  I  reflected  on  the  manner  of 
constructing  it,  and  was  at  length  so  entirely 
successful  that  I  made  a  spy-glass  which  far  sur- 
passes the  report  of  the  Flanders  one.  As  the 
news  had  reached  Venice  that  I  had  made  such 
an  instrument,  six  days  ago  I  was  summoned 
before  their  Highnesses,  the  Signoria,  and  ex- 
hibited it  to  them,  to  the  astonishment  of  the 
whole  sdnate.  Many  of  the  nobles  and  senators, 
although  of  a  great  age,  mounted  more  than  once 
to  the  top  of  the  highest  church  tower  in  Venice, 
in  order  to  see  sails  and  shipping  that  were  so 
far  off  that  it  was  two  hours  before  they  were 
seen,  without  my  spy-glass,  steering  full  sail  into 
the  harbour;  for  the  effect  of  my  instrument  is 
such  that  it  makes  an  object  50  miles  off  appear 
as  large  as  if  it  were  only  five. 

"  Perceiving  of  what  great  utility  such  an 
instrument  would  prove  in  naval  and  military 
operations,  and  seeing  that  his  Serenity  the  Doge 
desired  to  possess  it,  I  resolved  on  the  24th 

1  A    design    which   he   had    formed  earlier  in  the  year.      See 
p.  1 1 6  infra. 

78  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

inst.  to  go  to  the  palace  and  present  it  as  a 
free  gift.  On  quitting  the  presence-chamber  I 
was  commanded  to  bide  awhile  in  the  hall  of 
the  Senate,  whereunto  the  Procurator,  Antonio 
Prioli,  one  of  the  heads  of  the  University  of 
Padua,  came,  and,  taking  me  by  the  hand,  said 
that  the  Senate,  knowing  the  way  in  which  I 
had  served  it  for  seventeen  years  at  Padua,  and 
being  sensible  of  my  courtesy  in  making  it  a 
present  of  the  spy-glass,  had  ordered  my  election 
(with  my  good-will)  to  the  Professorship  for  life, 
with  a  salary  of  1000  florins  yearly;  and  as 
there  remained  yet  a  year  to  terminate  the 
period  of  my  last  re-election,  they  willed  that 
the  increase  of  salary  should  date  from  that 
very  day.1  Knowing  that  Fortune's  wings  are 
swift  but  that  those  of  Hope  are  drooping  [i.e. 
the  hope  of  returning  and  settling  in  Florence], 
I  said  I  was  content  to  abide  by  his  Serenity's 
pleasure.  Then  the  illustrious  Prioli,  embracing 
me,  said :  '  As  I  command  here  and  can  order 
what  I  please  (it  being  my  turn  this  week),  I 
will  that  after  dinner  the  Senate  assemble,  and 
that  your  election  be  put  to  the  ballot/  which 
was  done  [with  few  dissentient  votes.]  So  I 
am  bound  here  for  life,  and  can  only  hope 
to  enjoy  a  sight  of  my  own  country  during  the 

1  The  decree  is  dated  2^th  August  1609,  and  the  preamble 
runs  as  follows : — "  Domino  Galileo  Galilei  having  been  mathe- 
matical lecturer  in  Padua  for  seventeen  years,  to  the  gain  of  the 
University  and  to  the  satisfaction  of  all ;  and  having  during  his 
professorship  made  known  to  the  world  divers  discoveries  and 
inventions  to  his  own  renown  and  the  common  weal;  but  in 
particular  having  lately  invented  an  instrument  by  which  (knowing 
the  secrets  of  perspective)  things  visible,  b(ut  most  distant,  are 
brought  within  easy  vision,  and  which  may  be  made  to  serve  in 
many  occasions  ;  now,  it  is  proper  that  this  Council  do  gratefully 
and  munificently  recognise  the  labours  of  those  who  are  employed 
for  the  public  benefit.  Therefore,"  etc. 

Campanile  and  Church  of  San  Marco,  Venice. 

[To  face  p.  i 

i6io]     ITS    INVENTION   BY   GALILEO      79 

In  "II  Saggiatore,"  published  in  1623, 
Galileo  enters  more  fully  into  the  reasonings 
which  led  him  to  the  invention,  and  defends  his 
right  to  consider  the  telescope  as  a  child  of  his 
brain.  He  says  : — 

"What  part  belongs  to  me  in  the  invention 
of  the  telescope,  and  why  may  I  reasonably  call 
it  my  son?  As  I  have  long  ago  shown  in  my 
*  Sidereus  Nuncius/  news  arrived  at  Venice, 
where  I  happened  to  be  at  the  moment,  that 
a  Dutchman  had  presented  to  Count  Maurice 
of  Nassau  a  glass  by  means  of  which  one  could 
see  distant  things  as  clearly  as  if  they  were 
near.  With  this  simple  fact  I  returned  to 
Padua,  and,  reflecting  on  the  problem,  I  found 
the  solution  on  the  first  night  after  my  arrival, 
and  the  next  day  I  made  an  instrument  and 
reported  the  fact  to  my  friends  at  Venice,  with 
whom  I  had  been  discussing  the  rumour.  In 
the  next  six  days  I  made  a  more  perfect  instru- 
ment, with  which  I  returned  to  Venice,  and 
showed  it  for  more  than  a  month  to  the  wonder 
and  astonishment  of  the  chiefs  of  the  republic 
— a  task  which  caused  me  no  small  fatigue. 
But  perhaps  it  may  be  said  that  no  great  credit 
is  due  for  the  making  of  an  instrument,  or  the 
solution  of  a  problem,  when  one  is  told  before- 
hand that  the  instrument  exists,  or  that  the 
problem  is  solvable.  It  may  be  said  that  the 
certitude  of  the  existence  of  such  a  glass  aided 
me,  and  that  without  this  knowledge  I  would 
never  have  succeeded.  To  this  I  reply,  the  help 
which  the  information  gave  me  consisted  in 
exciting  my  thoughts  in  a  particular  direction, 
and  without  that,  it  is  possible  they  may  never 
have  been  directed  that  way;  but  that  such 
information  made  the  act  of  invention  easier  to 

8o  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

me  I  deny,  and  I  say  more — to  find  the 
solution  of  a  definite  problem  requires  a  greater 
effort  of  genius  than  to  resolve  one  not  specified  ; 
for  in  the  latter  case  hazard,  chance,  may  play 
the  greater  part,  while  in  the  former  all  is  the 
work  of  the  reasoning  and  intelligent  mind. 
Thus,  we  are  certain  that  the  Dutchman,  the 
first  inventor  of  the  telescope,  was  a  simple 
spectacle-maker,  who,  handling  by  chance  different 
forms  of  glasses,  looked,  also  by  chance,  through 
two  of  them,  one  convex  and  the  other  concave, 
held  at  different  distances  from  the  eye ;  saw 
and  noted  the  unexpected  result;  and  thus  found 
the  instrument.  On  the  other  hand,  I,  on  the 
simple  information  of  the  effect  obtained,  dis- 
covered the  same  instrument,  not  by  chance, 
but  by  the  way  of  pure  reasoning.1  Here  are 
the  steps  :  the  artifice  of  the  instrument  depends 
either  on  one  glass  or  on  several.  It  cannot 
depend  on  one,  for  that  must  be  either  convex, 
or  concave,  or  plain.  The  last  form  neither 
augments  nor  diminishes  visible  objects ;  the 
concave  diminishes  them,  the  convex  increases 
them,  but  both  show  them  blurred  and  indistinct. 
Passing  then  to  the  combination  of  two  glasses, 
and  knowing  that  glasses  with  plain  surfaces 
change  nothing,  I  concluded  that  the  effect  could 
not  be  produced  by  combining  a  plain  glass 
with  a  convex  or  a  concave  one ;  I  was  thus 
left  with  the  two  other  kinds  of  glasses,  and 
after  a  few  experiments  I  saw  how  the  effect 
sought  could  be  produced.  Such  was  the  march 
of  my  discovery,  in  which  I  was  not  assisted  in 

1  This  is  exactly  what  Huygens,  writing  years  afterwards,  seems 
to  deny.  "I  would  place,35  he  says,  "without  hesitation  above  all 
mortals  him  who  by  reflection  alone,  and  without  the  aid  of  chance, 
should  arrive  at  the  invention  of  the  telescope."  "Dioptrica," 

i6io]         HIS     FIRST     TELESCOPES  81 

any    way   by   the   knowledge   that    the   conclusion 
at  which  I  aimed  was  a  verity. 

"  But  some  people  believe  that  the  certainty  of 
the  result  aimed  at  affords  great  help  in  attaining 
it.  Let  them  read  history,  and  they  will  find  that 
Archites  made  a  dove  that  could  fly,  and  that 
Archimedes  made  a  mirror  that  burned  objects  at 
great  distances,  and  many  other  admirable  machines. 
Now,  by  reasoning  on  these  things  such  people, 
doubtless,  will  be  able,  with  very  little  trouble  and 
with  great  honour  and  advantage,  to  tell  us  how  they 
were  constructed.  And  even  if  they  do  not  succeed, 
they  will  be  able  to  certify  for  their  own  satisfaction 
that  that  ease  of  fabrication  which  they  had  promised 
themselves  from  the  foreknowledge  of  the  result  is 
very  much  less  than  what  they  had  imagined." 

Of  the  first  telescope  referred  to  in  the  above 
extracts  no  further  mention  is  made,  so  we  may 
suppose  that  it  was  of  little  value ;  but  the  second, 
which  he  presented  to  the  Doge  and  is  unfortunately 
lost,  is  mentioned  with  some  particulars  in  his 
"Sidereus  Nuncius,"  published  at  Venice  about  the 
middle  of  March  1610.  It  consisted  of  a  leaden 
tube,  with  a  plano-concave  eye-glass  and  a  plano- 
convex object  glass,  and  had  a  magnifying  power  of 
3  diameters,  thus  making  objects  appear  three  times 
nearer,  and  consequently  nine  times  larger.  From 
other  sources  we  learn  that  the  tube  was  about  70 
centimetres  long  and  about  45  millimetres  diameter. 
This  instrument  was  shown  for  the  first  time  in 
public  on  2  ist  August  1609,  from  the  top  of  the 
campanile  of  San  Marco,  when  the  farthest  object 
that  could  be  clearly  seen  was  the  campanile  of  the 
Church  of  San  Giustina  in  Padua,  distant  about 
35  kilometres  in  a  straight  line. 





The  principle  of  Galileo's  telescope  is  illustrated 
in  the  adjoining  diagram.  C  is  the  centre  of  the 
object-glass,  and  c  that  of  the  eye-glass ;  the 
former  being  a  convex,  the  latter  a  concave  lens. 
The  direction  of  the  line  cC  may  be  spoken  of  as 
the  axis  of  the  telescope.  It  will  be  readily  under- 
stood that  if  the  instrument  be  adjusted  so  that  its 
axis  points  in  the  direction  of  a  minute  object  s', 
then,  on  applying  the  eye  to  the  eye-glass,  that  object 
appears  exactly  in  the  centre  of  the  field  of  view. 

Fig.  6. 


The  eye  placed  at  E  will  see  the  point  s;  in  the 
same  direction  as  if  the  two  intervening  lenses  were 
suddenly  annihilated.  To  fully  realise  the  pheno- 
menon of  vision  through  the  telescope,  we  must 
examine  the  course  of  the  rays  of  light  which  reach 
the  eye  from  an  object  slightly  removed  from  the 
axis  of  the  telescope.  Such  an  object  is  repre- 
sented by  S  in  the  figure,  Rays  of  light  emanate 
from  this  point  in  all  directions ;  we  are  concerned, 
however,  only  with  those  which  strike  the  object- 
glass  between  P  and  Q.  These  rays  pass  through 
both  lenses,  being  refracted  each  time.  The  convex 

1  For  convenience  in  drawing  the  breadth  of  the  telescope  is 
enlarged  out  of  proportion  to  its  length. 

i6io]     THE    GALILEAN    TELESCOPE       83 

lens  bends  them  inwards,  so  that  they  would  all,  if 
subsequently  uninterrupted,  very  nearly  meet  at 
about  the  point  F  in  the  figure.  But  before  reach- 
ing this  point  they  are  intercepted  by  concave  lens, 
which  turns  their  course  outwards  again.  The 
final  result  will,  provided  the  distance  cC  between 
the  two  lenses  be  suitably  adjusted,  be  a  beam  of 
parallel  rays,  as  indicated  in  the  figure.  To  a 
beam  of  parallel  (or,  it  may  be,  very  slightly  diver- 
gent) rays  the  human  eye  is  sensible ;  so  that  the 
beam  of  rays  represented  by  pp;,  qq',  and  the  space 
between  them,  would  on  entering  the  eye  render 
visible  the  small  luminous  object  S  from  which  they 
originally  came.  And  as  the  apparent  direction  of 
this  object  depends  entirely  on  the  direction  in 
which  the  rays  were  last  travelling  before  entering 
the  eye,  the  object  S  will  be  seen  in  the  direction  of 
the  broken  line  EA,  the  dotted  line  ER  being 
inserted  to  show  the  direction  in  which  the  same 
object  would  have  been  visible  but  for  the  inter- 
vention of  the  telescope.  The  effect  of  this  is 
that  the  apparent  distance  of  S  and  s;  from  one 
another  is  increased  about  three  times  by  the  use  of 
the  instrument,  which  we  may  accordingly  say  has 
a  magnifying  power  of  3  diameters. 

In  the  diagram  the  objects  examined,  S  and  s', 
have  for  obvious  reasons  been  placed  near  the  con- 
vex lens.  But  if  the  telescope  be  directed  to  two 
stars,  near  one  another  in  the  heavens,  but  both  of 
course  at  practically  infinite  distances  from  the 
observer,  the  phenomena  are  exactly  as  described 
above,  although  the  concave  lens  would  require  to 
be  pushed  slightly  into  the  main  tube  in  order  that 

84  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

the  rays  of  light  from  the  stars,  after  passing  down 
the  telescope,  may  finally  emerge  parallel.  At  the 
same  time,  the  change  of  distance  of  an  object 
observed  will  slightly  affect  the  magnifying  power. 

On  his  return  to  Padua  Galileo  made  his  third 
telescope,  of  which  he   only   says   that   "it  made 
objects  appear  more  than  sixty  times  larger,"  which 
is   equivalent  to  a   magnifying   power  of  about  8 
diameters.     But  in  a  very  few  days  he  had  a  much 
better  one,  which  enlarged  four  hundred  times.    With 
this  he  made  his  first  observations  on  the  moon, 
which  he   "  brought  to   a  distance  of  less  than   3 
semi-diameters  of  the  earth,  thus  making  it  appear 
about  twenty  times  nearer  and  four  hundred  times 
larger  than  when  seen  by  the  unaided  eye."     He 
also  turned  it  towards  Jupiter,  but  with  no  specified 
results.     To  obviate  the  shaking  when  held  in  the 
hand,  the  instrument  was  firmly  fixed  on  a  support. 
The  lenses  were  adjustable,   the  tubes  which  held 
them   being  capable    of   being    drawn   out  of,   or 
pushed  into,  the  main  tube.     Thus,   to  see  clearly 
things  not  very  distant,  the  glasses  should  be  drawn 
apart  a  little;   while  for  very  distant  objects  they 
had  to  be  approached.     He  found  he  could  grind 
large  convex  lenses   more   truly   than  small  ones. 
He  preferred  therefore  to  make  his  object-glasses 
larger  than  necessary,  and   to  cover  a  portion  of 
their  surface,  leaving  open  around  the  centre  just 
so  large  a  space  as  he  found,   on  testing,  to  give 
the  best  results. 

While  on  a  short  visit  to  Florence,  probably 
in  October  1609,  he  had  this  instrument  with  him, 
and  showed  it  to  his  late  pupil,  Cosimo  II.,  now 

X6io]       TELESCOPIC     DISCOVERIES       85 

become  Grand  Duke,  "who,  to  his  great  surprise 
and  delight,  was  able  to  see  that  the  moon  was 
a  body  very  similar  to  the  earth." 

Very  early  in  January  1610,  Galileo  had  con- 
structed a  fifth  and  still  more  powerful  telescope, 
"  sparing  neither  labour  nor  expense/'  which  showed 
objects  more  than  thirty  times  nearer  and  nearly 
one  thousand  times  larger.1  With  this  instrument 
he  not  only  verified  and  completed  his  observations 
on  the  moon,  begun  the  previous  autumn  with  his 
fourth  telescope,  but  he  also  discovered  Jupiter's 
moons,  some  of  the  fixed  stars,  and  contributed 
to  the  solution  of  that  long-standing  puzzle  to 
philosophers — the  Milky  Way. 

Writing  to  Belisario  Vinta,  then  with  the 
Tuscan  Court  at  Pisa,  3oth  January  1610,  Galileo 
thus  modestly  alludes  to  his  first  series  of  dis- 
coveries : — 

"  I  am  at  present  staying  in  Venice  for  the 
purpose  of  getting  printed  some  observations  which 
I  have  made  on  the  celestial  bodies  by  means  of 
my  spy-glass  (mio  occkiale)  and  which  infinitely 
amaze  me.  Therefore  do  I  give  thanks  to  God, 
who  has  been  pleased  to  make  me  the  first  observer 
of  marvellous  things  unrevealed  to  bygone  ages. 
I  had  already  ascertained  that  the  moon  was  a 
body  very  similar  to  the  earth,  and  had  shown 

1  Galileo  arrived  at  the  powers  of  his  glasses  by  the  following 
crude  method.  "  Place,"  he  says,  "  upon  a  wall  at  a  certain  distance 
two  unequal  discs,  one  of  which  you  will  observe  with  the  telescope 
and  the  other  with  the  naked  eye.  If  the  disc  seen  through  the 
telescope  appear  equal  to  the  other,  the  magnifying  power  of  the 
instrument  is  in  the  proportion  of  the  two  discs.  If  they  do  not 
appear  equal  the  *  other J  disc  must  be  enlarged  or  diminished  until 
they  do,  and  then  the  magnifying  power  will  be,  as  before,  in  the 
proportion  of  the  discs." 

86  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

our  Serene  Master,  the  Grand  Duke,  as  much, 
but  imperfectly,  not  then  having  such  an  excellent 
spy-glass  as  I  now  possess,  which,  besides  showing 
the  moon  most  clearly,  has  revealed  to  me  a 
multitude  of  fixed  stars  never  before  seen,  being 
more  than  ten  times  the  number  of  those  that  can 
be  seen  by  the  unaided  eye.  Moreover,  I  have 
ascertained  what  has  always  been  a  matter  of  con- 
troversy among  philosophers,  namely,  the  nature 
of  the  Milky  Way.  But  the  greatest  marvel  of 
all  is  the  discovery  of  four  new  planets.  I  have 
observed  their  motions  proper  to  themselves  and 
in  relation  to  each  other,  and  wherein  they  differ 
from  the  motions  of  the  other  planets.  These  new 
bodies  move  round  another  very  great  star,  in  the 
same  way  as  Mercury  and  Venus,  and,  perad- 
venture,  the  other  known  planets,  move  round  the 
sun.  As  soon  as  my  tract  is  printed,  which  I 
intend  sending  as  an  advertisement  to  all  philoso- 
phers and  mathematicians,  I  shall  send  a  copy  to 
his  Highness,  the  Grand  Duke,  together  with  an 
excellent  spy-glass,  which  will  enable  him  to  judge 
for  himself  of  the  truth  of  these  novelties." 

The  tract  referred  to  in  the  above  letter  is  his 
"  Sidereus  Nuncius"  (Messenger  of  the  Stars),  the 
preface  of  which  is  dated  4th  March  1610,  and  the 
book,  doubtless,  appeared  immediately  after,  say, 
towards  the  middle  of  March.  In  this  epoch- 
marking  treatise  he  gives  the  results  of  his  obser- 
vations to  date,  of  which  we  proceed  to  give  a 

His  observations  were  first  directed  to  the  moon. 
The  discovery  of  new  spots  on  its  face,  added  to 
those  already  visible  to  the  naked  eye,  and  observa- 
tions on  the  changes  of  light  on  those  spots,  led  him 

i6io]          LUNAR    OBSERVATIONS  87 

to  the  conclusion  that  the  surface  of  the  moon,  far 
from  being  smooth  and  polished,  according  to  the 
opinion  of  the  ancients,  was  rough  with  deep   de- 
pressions and  high  mountains.      Those  parts  which 
remained  or  became  brilliant  he  inferred  were  land, 
like  the  solid  parts  of  this  earth,  while  those  which 
remained   obscure  —  the    permanent    spots  —  were 
water.     The  illuminated  edges  of  the  moon  in  all  its 
phases  showed  themselves  perfectly  round,  without 
those  indentations  which  one  would  expect  from  the 
inequalities  of  its   surface.     Galileo  explained  this 
appearance — (i)  by  supposing  that  the  mountainous 
parts,  as  it  were,  masked  each  other,  so  that  at  the 
distance  of  the  earth  the  intervening  depressions  were 
not  discernible,  and  (2)  by  the  existence  of  a  lunar 
atmosphere  of  a  density  such  as  to  reflect  the  solar 
rays  while  not   obstructing   the  vision.     Thus   the 
reflection  of  solar  light  by  this  atmosphere  gave 
the  appearance  of  a  regular  circular  contour,  only 
intensified   in   the   parts   most   illuminated.     From 
the    appearance    of    illuminated   mountain-tops    in 
the  dark  part  of  the  moon  at  some  little  distance 
from    the    broken    line    along    which    sunrise    or 
sunset  was  general,  he   was  able  to  judge  of  the 
height  of  some  of  these  mountains.     And  his  calcu- 
lation agrees  very  well  with  the  modern  estimate. 
The  higher  mountains  were  found  to  rise  4  or  5 
miles  above  the  general   level — a  height  which   is 
seldom  exceeded  on  the  earth. 

He,  of  course,  remarked  the  feeble  light,  so- 
called  phosphorescent,  which,  in  the  first  and  last 
quarters  of  the  moon,  makes  visible  to  us  that  part 
of  its  disc  which  is  no  longer  illuminated  directly  by 

88  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA          [iS92. 

the  sun.  After  showing  that  this  light1  did  not 
originate  in  the  moon  itself,  and  was  not  reflected 
there  from  Venus,  he  concludes  that  it  can  only  be 
due  to  the  sunlight  reflected  from  the  earth  to  the 
moon,  and  thence  reflected  back  to  our  eyes.1 

After  referring  for  greater  details  to  the  work 
which  he  proposed  to  publish  on  the  system  of  the 
world,  he  contends,  contrary  to  the  received  opinion, 
that  our  earth  is  a  moving  planet,  and  that  it  exceeds 
the  moon  in  luminosity,  and,  therefore,  that  it  is 
far  from  being  the  sink  of  impurity  hitherto 

In  examining  the  fixed  stars  and  comparing  them 
with  the  planets,  Galileo  discovered  a  remarkable 
difference.  While  the  planets  showed  themselves  as 
discs  like  little  moons,  the  stars  appeared  no  larger 
than  they  do  to  the  naked  eye,  bright  specks  in  the 
firmament,  sending  forth  twinkling  rays.  In  ex- 
planation of  this  fact  he  supposes  that  the  telescope 
has  the  effect  of  stripping  the  star  of  the  false  light 
by  which  it  is  surrounded  when  viewed  with  the 
naked  eye.  This  spurious  corona  is  ascribed  by  him 
to  the  effect  of  irradiation  which  generally  increases 
with  the  brightness  of  the  field  upon  which  the 
luminous  object  is  projected.  Thus,  at  sunset,  when 
the  obscurity  of  the  heavens  is  tempered  by  the 
twilight,  the  stars,  even  of  the  first  magnitude, 
appear  very  minute.  So,  with  respect  to  Venus, 
notwithstanding  her  usual  splendour,  she  does  not 

1  Leonardo  da  Vinci  and  Maestlin  had  already  arrived  at  the 
same  conclusion  ,•  but  da  Vinci's  writings  were  certainly  not  known  to 
Galileo  (see  p.  23  ante\  and  Maestlin's  opinion  probably  not,  as 
knowledge  in  those  days  did  not  spread  fast,  except  in  special 

!6io]  STAR-CLUSTERS  89 

exceed   a|  star   of   the   sixth   magnitude   on    those 
occasions    when    she    happens    to    be,   visible    at 


Upon  directing  his  telescope  to  the  more  con- 
spicuous star-clusters,  he  was  astonished  to  find 
that  they  contained,  besides  those  already  known, 
a  great  number  of  other  stars  too  faint  to  be  in- 
dividually recognised  by  the  naked  eye.  The 
number  of  the  Pleiades,  which  had  been  fixed  at 
seven,  now  rose  to  forty,  while  in  the  constellation 
of  Orion,  instead  of  seven  he  counted  eighty  stars. 
Certain  portions  of  the  Milky  Way  were  resolved 
into  a  countless  number  of  minute  stars ;  and  he 
inferred  that  as  a  whole  it  derived  its  singular  white- 
ness from  innumerable  other  stars  which  his  instru- 
ment was  not  powerful  enough  to  separate* 

When  Galileo  turned  \usfourth  telescope  to  the 
planets,  he  saw  them  as  little  moons.  Jupiter's  disc 
was  of  considerable  magnitude,  but  in  no  other  way 
did  he  differ  from  the  other  planets.  Now,  on 
7th  January  1610,  directing  his  fifth  and  more 
powerful  glass  towards  Jupiter,  his  attention  was  at 
once  drawn  to  three  small  but  very  bright  stars  that 
appeared  in  his  vicinity,  two  on  the  east  side  and 
one  on  the  west.  He  at  first  imagined  them  to  be 
fixed  stars,  and  yet  there  was  something  in  their 
appearance  which  he  thought  curious.  They  were 
all  disposed  in  a  right  line  parallel  to  the  plane  of 
the  ecliptic,  and  were  brighter  than  other  stars  of  the 
same  magnitude.2  This  did  not,  however,  induce 

1  He  has  a  great  deal  more  on  this  subject  of  irradiation  in  his 
letters  to  Griemberger  on  Lunar  Mountains ;  in  his  work  on  "  Sun- 
Spots,"  and  "  II  Saggiatore." 

2  See  attached  facsimile  of  Galileo's  notes  of  these  observations. 

90  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA          [IS92. 

him  to  alter  his  opinion  that  they  were  fixed  stars, 
and  therefore  he  did  not  note  their  distances  from 
each  other  or  from  the  planet.  Happening,  by  mere 
accident,  as  he  says,  to  examine  Jupiter  again  on 
8th  January,  he  was  surprised  to  find  that  the  stars 
were  now  arranged  quite  differently.  They  were 
all  on  the  west  side,  and  were  nearer  to  each  other 
than  on  the  previous  evening,  and  at  equal  distances 
apart.  The  strange  fact  of  the  mutual  approach  of 
these  stars  had  as  yet  no  significance  for  him ;  it 
only  excited  his  astonishment  that  the  planet  should 
be  seen  to  the  east  of  them  all  when  on  the  previous 
night  it  was  to  the  west  of  two  of  them.  He  very 
soon  began  to  think  that  perhaps  the  motion  of 
Jupiter  might  be  direct,  contrary  to  the  accepted 
opinion  of  astronomers,  and  that  he  had  got  in 
advance  of  the  stars.  He  therefore  waited  for  the 
following  night  with  some  anxiety,  but  he  was  dis- 
appointed, for  the  heavens  were  enveloped  in 
clouds.  On  loth  January  he  could  see  only  two 
stars,  and  they  were  both  on  the  east  side!  He 
suspected  that  the  third  might  be  concealed  behind 
the  disc  of  the  planet.  Those  visible  appeared  as 
before  in  the  same  right  line,  and  lay  in  the  direction 
of  the  ecliptic.  Unable  to  account  for  such  changes 
by  the  motion  of  the  planet,  and  being  at  the  same 
time  fully  assured  that  he  always  observed  the  same 
stars,  his  doubts  now  turned  into  admiration,  and 
he  concluded  that  the  motions  must  be  referred 
to  the  stars  themselves  and  not  to  the  planet.  He 
therefore  determined  to  watch  them  with  the  closest 

On  nth  January  he  again  saw  only  two  stars, 

Facsimile  &U>ichcs  uf  lupikr's  Sotelliitt  (from  Gulilco's  MSS.). 

i6io]          JUPITER'S     SATELLITES  91 

still  on  the  east  side  of  Jupiter,  but  the  outer  one 
was    now    nearly    twice    as    large    as    the   other, 
although  on  the  previous  night  they  were  almost 
equal.     This    fact,   taken   in   connection  with   the 
constant   change   of  the   relative   positions   of  the 
stars  and  the  total  disappearance  of  one  of  them, 
left  no  doubt  on  his  mind  of  their  real  character 
He  concluded  that  there  are  in  the  heavens  three 
stars  revolving  round  Jupiter  in  the  same  way  as 
Venus  and   Mercury  revolve  round  the   sun.     On 
1 2th   January   he   again   saw   three  stars,   two  on 
the   east   side   of  Jupiter,    and   one   on   the   west. 
The    third   began   to   appear  about  three   o'clock 
in  the  morning,  emerging  from  the  eastern   limb 
of  the  planet ;   it   was   then  very   small,  and   dis- 
cernible   only    with     great     difficulty.      On    i3th 
January    he    saw    four    stars,    three    of   them   on 
the   west   side  and  one  on  the  east.     They  were 
all    in    a    line    parallel    to   the   ecliptic,    with   the 
exception  of  the  central  one  of  the  western  group, 
which    was    a    little    towards    the    north.      They 
were  all  about  the   same  size,  and  shone   with   a 
much   greater  lustre  than  fixed  stars  of  the  same 
magnitude.     January    i4th   was    cloudy,    but    next 
night  he   saw  all   four   stars   to  the  west   of  the 
planet,    all    nearly    in    the    same    right  line,    and 
increasing  in  size  and  brilliancy,  according  to  their 
distance  from  Jupiter. 

And  so  he  continued  nightly,  up  to  2nd  March 
1610,  to  make  these  observations,  sixty-six  of  which 
are  figured  and  described  in  the  "Sidereus 

The  persistence  of  the  relative  distances  between 

92  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA          [iS92- 

these  four  bodies  and  Jupiter  in  all  their  changes 
left  no  room  for  doubt  that  they  accomplished 
with  him,  and  in  about  twelve  years,  a  revolu- 
tion around  the  sun  as  a  centre.  Their  own 
orbits  round  the  planet  were  unequal  in  time, 
those  nearest  moving  more  rapidly  than  those 
more  remote;  while  the  most  remote  of  all 
appeared  to  complete  its  revolution  in  one-half 

"It  is  now/'  he  says  in  conclusion,  "not  simply 
a  case  of  one  body  (the  moon)  revolving  around 
another  body  (the  earth),  while  the  two  together 
make  a  revolution  around  the  sun,  as  the  Coper- 
nican  doctrine  teaches;  but  we  have  the  case  of 
four  bodies  or  moons  revolving  round  the  planet 
Jupiter,  as  the  moon  does  round  the  earth,  while 
they  all  with  Jupiter  perform  a  grand  revolution 
round  the  sun  in  a  dozen  years." 

By  the  ist  of  January  1610  Galileo  had  fitted 
up  his  workshop,  so  as  to  be  able  to  make  and 
grind  his  own  glasses,  of  which  he  turned  out 
large  numbers,  but  of  which  only  a  small  per- 
centage was  found  to  be  of  any  great  value. 
Thus,  by  the  middle  of  March,  out  of  one 
hundred  and  more  which  he  had  ground  "at 
great  fatigue  and  expense,"  only  ten  were  able 

1  Two  years  later,  in  the  opening  passages  of  his  "  Discourse  on 
Floating  Bodies,"  he  gives  the  periods  of  revolution  approximately 
as  follows  : — The  innermost  one,  i  day  18  hours  30  minutes ;  the 
second,  3  days  13  hours  20  minutes ;  the  third,  7  days  4  hours  ;  and 
the  fourth  or  outermost,  16  days  18  hours.  The  modem  figures  are 
in  days,  hours,  minutes,  and  seconds,  i,  18,  28,  36;  3,  13,  17,  54; 
7>  3>  59>  36;  and  16,  18,  5,  7,  respectively.  A  fifth  satellite  was  dis- 
covered in  1892,  whose  period  is  only  n  hours  and  57^  seconds. 
Jupiter's  belts  were  discovered  by  Torricelli,  a  disciple  of  Galileo. 

i6io]         GALILEO'S    TELESCOPES  93 

to  show  the  newly  discovered  moons  of  Jupiter 
and  the  fixed  stars.1  The  object  glasses  gave 
him  the  most  trouble,  as  it  is  easy  to  understand, 
since  everything  depends  on  the  degree  of 
accuracy  with  which  this  glass  brings  to  a  focus 
the  rays  of  light  passing  through  it. 

The  same  difficulty  was  found  elsewhere,  for 
Kepler,  in  one  of  his  letters  about  this  time,  tells 
Galileo  that  it  was  easy  to  find  good  concave 
lenses  in  Germany,  but  that  he  found  it  most 
difficult  to  procure  decent  convex  ones.  In  fact, 
for  a  long  time  no  instruments  at  all  approaching 
Galileo's  were  to  be  had  in  Europe,  and  he  was 
consequently  besieged  with  orders  from  all  parts. 
Thus,  Daniel  Antonini,  writing  from  Brussels  in 
April  1611,  complains  that  in  all  Flanders  no  instru- 
ment was  to  be  had  capable  of  magnifying  more 
than  five  times,  and  says  that  he  was  obliged  to 
make  one  himself,  which  was  able  to  show  "  fairly 
well  the  inequalities  of  the  moon's  surface  and  the 
Medicean  stars."2  As  late  as  1634  a  good  instru- 
ment could  not  be  procured  in  Paris,  Venice,  or 
Amsterdam ;  and  even  in  Holland,  the  home  of 
the  telescope,  down  to  1637,  there  was  not  one 
which  could  show  Jupiter's  disc  well  defined.3 

1  Letter  to  Vinta,  igth  March  1610.  At  this  time  his  clever  workman 
Mazzoleni.  was  also  engaged  not  only  on  the  geometrical  and  military 
compass,  of  which  many  hundreds  were  made  and  sold  all  over 
Europe,  but  on  hydrostatic  balances,  air  thermometers,  magnets  and 
magnetic  compasses  for  ships,  and  various  kinds  of  drawing  com- 
passes for  engineers  and  architects.  He  had  also  added  a  printing- 
press,  where  his  tract  on  the  Geometrical  and  Military  Compass  was 
set  up.  See  pp.  43-44  ante. 

2  I.e.  Jupiter's  satellites,  see  p.  96  infra. 

3  Galileo  continued  all  these  years  to  grind  his  own  glasses,  and 
it  was    not   until  his  eyesight  began  to  fail  that  he  consented  to 


PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA         [1592- 

It  detracts  little  from  the  merit  of  Galileo's 
invention  that  the  modern  refracting  telescope  is 
based  upon  a  different  combination  of  lenses  than 
that  which  he  used,  After  possessing  himself  of 
one  of  Galileo's  instruments,  Kepler  designed, 
though  he  did  not  make,  a  telescope  consisting 
of  two  convex  lenses.  The  difference  between  the 
two  systems  can  be  seen  by  comparing  the  adjoin- 
ing diagram  with  that  of  Galileo's  telescope  already 

Fig.  7. 


given.  Without  entering  into  a  detailed  description, 
it  may  be  well  to  point  out  that  in  Galileo's  the 
rays  of  light  which  travel  from  the  point  S  and 
penetrate  to  the  observers  eye  do  not,  on  striking 
the  object-glass,  cover  the  whole  of  its  surface ; 

impart  his  secret  to  Ippolito  Mariani,  commonly  known  as  II  Tordo, 
whom  he  appointed  as  his  successor  in  the  art.  From  about  1637, 
Francesco  Fontana  of  Naples  also  began  to  turn  out  good  glasses  of 
the  Galilean  pattern.  After  Galileo's  death  Torricelli,  having  devised 
an  improved  way  of  grinding  and  polishing  lenses,  of  which  he  was 
the  first  to  calculate  previously  the  curve,  made  some  instruments  of 
great  perfection.  Gradually  other  Italians  took  up  the  art,  and 
became  noted  for  the  excellence  of  their  telescopes,  as  Viviani, 
Severino,  and  Campani. 

1  For  convenience  in  drawing  the  breadth  of  the  telescope  is 
enlarged  out  of  proportion  to  its  length. 

i6io]       KEPLERIAN     TELESCOPES          95 

and  also  that  (as  explained  above)  these  rays, 
passing  down  the  tube  of  the  telescope,  are  not 
allowed  to  come  to  a  focus,  but  are  intercepted  by 
the  eye-glass.  In  these  respects  Kepler's  system 
is  different ;  and  for  work  at  the  present  day, 
although  the  interval  of  nearly  three  centuries  has 
produced  refinements  and  complications  in  the 
manufacture  undreamt  of  by  either  Galileo  or 
Kepler,  the  modern  instrument  is  essentially  a 
development  of  the  combination  devised  by 
Kepler.  Galileo's  arrangement  is  suitable  for  low 
magnifying  powers,  and  has  advantages  where 
portability  is  desired ;  it  survives  in  the  common 
field-glass  and  opera-glass. 

It  must  further  be  pointed  out  before  forming 
an  estimate  of  Galileo's  work  that  he  knew  nothing 
of  the  reflecting  telescope.  Finding,  as  he  did,  that 
a  convex-lens  as  object-glass  brought  the  rays  of 
light  from  a  distant  object  to — or,  more  truly  in 
his  case,  towards — a  focus,  it  seems  not  to  have 
occurred  to  him  that  a  concave  mirror  might  serve 
the  same  purpose.  The  first  reflector  was  designed 
by  James  Gregory,  a  Scotch  mathematician,  in 
1663,  and  described  in  his  "Optica  Promota";  but 
poverty  prevented  its  construction.  It  was  nine 
years  later  that  Sir  Isaac  Newton,  acting  on 
Gregory's  suggestions,  and  influenced  also  by  the 
results  of  his  own  researches  in  the  theory  of  light 
produced  the  first  reflecting  telescope,  now  pre- 
served in  the  rooms  of  the  Royal  Society,  London. 
At  the  present  day  only  a  comparatively  small 
number  of  the  world's  great  telescopes  are  con- 
structed on  the  reflective  system.  But  for  certain 

96  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [1592- 

departments    of    astronomical    work    these    have 
advantages  over  the  refractor.1 

During  the  Easter  recess  in  Padua,  April 
1610,  Galileo,  according  to  custom,  would  probably 
have  visited  Florence ;  but  this  time  he  had  an 
express  invitation  from  the  Court,  then  at  Pisa,  to 
repair  thither  for  the  purpose  of  explaining  to  the 
Grand  Duke  his  discovery  of  the  four  satellites  of 
Jupiter,  which,  in  honour  of  the  reigning  family 
of  Tuscany,  he  proposed  to  call  Medicean  Stars, 
after  the  four  brothers  Cosimo  II.,  Francesco,  Carlo, 
and  Lorenzo  de  Medici.  Cosimo  II.,  who  all  his 
life  showed  a  sincere  attachment  to  his  old  tutor, 
asked  for  and  obtained  the  gift  of  the  instrument 
with  which  this  discovery  was  made ; 1  but  Galileo 
quickly  repented  of  his  generosity.  He  evidently 
could  not  part  with  his  "old  discoverer,"  as  he 
affectionately  called  it  in  after  years ;  so,  while 
always  reserving  it  for  the  Grand  Duke,  he  kept  it 
near  himself  till  his  death,  when  it  was  handed  over 
to  Prince  Leopoldo,  brother  of  Ferdinando  II. 

Of  its  subsequent  history  little  for  certain  is 
known.  It  would  appear  that  in  Galileo's  last 
years  the  instrument  was  accidentally  broken. 
Then,  in  1675,  there  is  a  record  in  the  inventory 
of  the  effects  of  Cardinal  Leopoldo  de  Medici  of  a 
"  broken  object-glass  with  which  Galileo  discovered 
the  four  new  planets";  and  in  1677  another  record 
of  its  having  been  set  in  an  ivory  frame,  for  which 

1  For  much  interesting  information  on  the  subject  of  telescopes,  see 
Grant's  "  History  of  Physical  Astronomy,'3  London,  1852,  chap,  xx., 
and  article  "  Telescope,"  in  "  Encycl.  Brit.,"  Qth  ed. 

1  Cosimo  made  him  a  return  present,  in  the  form  of  a  gold  chain 
and  medal,  as  a  badge  of  merit,  worth  about  400  scudi 

i6io]  GALILEO'S   "OLD    D  I  S  CO  VE  RE  R"  97 

one  Vittorio  Crosterr,  an  engraver  and  carver,  was 
paid  19^-  lire.  It  is  now  preserved  (together  with 
two  telescopes,  said  to  have  been  made  by  Galileo, 
and  certainly  of  his  time)  in  the  Tribuna  di  Galileo 
in  Florence,  with  many  other  precious  relics  of  the 
period.  Accurate  measurements  of  it  have  been 
quite  recently  made  by  Professor  Roiti  of  the  Uni- 
versity of  Florence,  as  follows  : — Focal  distance, 
1.70  metres;  diameter  .056  metre.  One  face  has 
the  curvature  of  a  sphere  with  radius  of  .935  m£tre, 
and  the  other  face  is  practically  plane,  having  just 
a  trace  of  convexity. 


GALILEO,    PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA (concluded] 


THE  hundred  and  more  telescopes,  which  Galileo 
had  made  in  the  first  half  of  1610,  were  distributed 
with  copies  of  the  "Sidereus  Nuncius"  amongst 
the  princes  and  learned  men  of  Italy,  France, 
Flanders,  and  Germany.  The  best  instruments 
he  reserved  for  particular  friends  and  patrons, 
amongst  whom  he  mentions  the  Duke  of  Bavaria, 
the  Elector  of  Cologne,  Cardinal  del  Monte,  and 
the  Duke  of  Urbino,  as  having  " begged"  for  them. 
The  Cardinal  sent  in  return  a  small  picture  to 
which  an  indulgence  was  attached !  The  Duke  of 
Bavaria  was  not  behind-hand,  but  what  his  present 
was  is  not  stated  (let  us  hope  it  was  more  sub- 
stantial than  the  Cardinal's) ;  while  the  Elector  of 
Cologne  wrote  that  the  pamphlet  was  disappoint- 
ingly incomplete,  since  it  contained  no  directions 
for  the  making  of  the  instrument.  He  therefore 
requested  Galileo  to  impart  the  secret,  promising 
to  recompense  him  in  a  princely  fashion. 

In   communicating   this   request,  and  evidently 
not  caring  to  bear  the  brunt  of  the  Elector's  anger 

i592-i6io]       POPULAR    EXCITEMENT         99 

in  case  of  non-compliance,  Galileo's  brother,  Michel- 
angelo, wrote,   1 4th  April   1610: — 

"  See  if  you  can  gratify  the  Elector  by  showing 
him  how  to  make  the  instrument,  and  if  not,  write 
to  him  direct  in  your  own  way." 

Then  he  peevishly  continues : — 

"You  say  not  a  word  about  the  telescope  / 
asked  you  for.  If  I  am  not  a  prince,  able  to 
remunerate  you,  at  least  I  am  your  brother,  and  it 
seems  very  strange  to  me  that  you  do  not  care  to 
gratify  me/' 

At  the  French  Court  the  arrival  of  Galileo's 
telescope  caused  immense  excitement,  the  queen, 
Marie  de  Medici,  being  particularly  interested  in 
it  as  the  invention  of  a  distinguished  fellow-country- 
man. It  is  related  that  in  her  eagerness  to  see  the 
moon  through  it,  she  would  not  wait  till  the  in- 
strument was  suitably  fixed  at  the  open  window, 
but  fell  on  her  knees  on  the  floor,  to  the  con- 
sternation of  her  suite  and  the  amazement  of  the 
grave  Italian  in  charge  of  the  telescope. 

The  solicitude  of  the  French  Court  to  gain  a 
place  in  the  heavens  by  the  side  of  the  Medici 
family  is  very  amusing.  In  a  letter  of  2Oth  April 
1610,  the  great  astronomer  is  begged: — 

"In  case  you  discover  any  other  fine  star,  call 
it  by  the  name  of  the  Great  Star  of  France,  as  well 
as  the  most  brilliant  of  all  the  earth,  and,  if  it 
seems  fit  to  you,  call  it  rather  by  his  proper  name, 
Henri,  than  by  the  family  name  Bourbon.  Thus 
you  will  have  an  opportunity  of  doing  a  thing 
due  and  proper  in  itself,  and,  at  the  same  time, 

ioo  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [,592. 

of  rendering   yourself  and   your   family   rich    and 
powerful  for  ever."1 

As  the  news  of  Galileo's  marvellous  discoveries 
spread  over  Italy,  the  popular  excitement  grew 
intense.  Thus,  in  Florence,  poets  chanted  the 
discoveries  and  the  glory  of  their  fellow-citizen, 
and  a  public  f&te  was  celebrated  in  his  honour. 
In  Venice,  Girolamo  Sirturo  describes  the  excite- 
ment as  amounting  to  frenzy,  and  tells  an  amusing 
story  of  his  own  experience.  With  the  first  tele- 
scope which  he  had  succeeded  in  making,  he 
ascended  the  tower  of  San  Marco,  in  the  hope  of 
trying  it  unmolested.  Unluckily  for  him,  he  was 
seen  by  some  idlers  in  the  square  below,  a  crowd 
soon  collected  round  him,  who  insisted  on  taking 
possession  of  the  instrument,  and,  handing  it  one  to 
another,  detained  him  for  hours  till  their  curiosity 
was  satisfied.  Desirous  of  obtaining  the  same 
gratification  for  their  friends,  they  endeavoured  to 
find  out  where  Sirturo  lodged,  but  he,  overhearing 
their  enquiries,  thought  it  better  to  quit  Venice 
early  the  next  morning  and  pursue  his  observations 
in  a  less  inquisitive  neighbourhood. 

In  the  "Sidereus  Nuncius"  Galileo  did  not 
formally  proclaim  his  discoveries  in  relation  to,  and 
in  support  of,  the  Copernican  theory  of  the  world ; 
but  in  his  lectures  and  conversations  he  made 
no  secret  of  his  belief.  Nor,  indeed,  was  any 
specific  announcement  needed ;  his  readers  could 
see  for  themselves  the  connection,  .and  the  speedy 
result  was  a  tremendous  explosion  of  incredulity 
and  malice.  The  Aristotelians  were  furious,  and 

1  Henry  IV.  was  assassinated  very  soon  after,  on  I4th  May  1610. 

i6w]  ATTITUDE    OF    PERI  P  ATETI  CS  101 

even  men  like  Welser  of  Augsburg,  and  Clavio  of 
Rome,  both  admirers  of  Galileo,  would  not  credit 
his  statements  until  they  had  learnt  better  from 
observations  of  their  own.  The  latter,  who  was 
the  first  mathematician  of  his  day,  for  months, 
down  to  October  1610,  "  laughed  at  the  idea  of 
there  being  four  new  planets,  to  see  which  they 
must  first  be  put  inside  the  telescope.  Let  Galileo 
keep  his  opinions  and  welcome.  I  hold  to  mine.51 
Nor  did  it  mend  matters  when  Galileo  offered 
10,000  scudi  to  any  one  who  would  construct  so 
cunning  an  instrument.  Others  refused  even 
to  look  through  the  telescope;  some,  lest  they 
should  see,  others  convinced  they  could  not 
see,  things  of  which  Aristotle  had  made  no 
mention ! 

Among  other  sticklers  for  conservatism  were  the 
celebrated  professors,  Cesare  Cremonino  of  Padua, 
one  of  Galileo's  colleagues,  and  Julius  Libri  of  Pisa, 
both  of  whom  peremptorily  rejected,  on  a  priori 
grounds,  Galileo's  discoveries  and  the  conclusions 
he  drew  from  them.  Libri  died  in  December  1610, 
refusing  to  look  through  a  telescope,  and  stigmatis- 
ing to  the  last  the  "  absurdities "  of  the  presump- 
tuous Florentine.  In  communicating  the  news  of 
Libri's  death  to  his  friend  Welser  (i;th  December), 
Galileo  expressed  the  hope  that  this  stiff-necked 
opponent  of  his  "  absurdities,"  who  would  not  look 
at  them  from  earth,  might  now  perhaps  see  them 
on  his  way  to  heaven. 

Some  passages  of  Galileo's  letter  to  Kepler  of 
1 9th  August  1610  will  best  show  how  these  men 
of  science  refused  to  be  convinced. 

102  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [i59> 

"  You  are  the  first  and  almost  the  only  person, 
who,  after  a  cursory  investigation,  has  given  entire 
credit  to  my  statements.  .  .  .  We  will  not  trouble 
ourselves  about  the  abuse  of  the  multitude,  for 
against  Jupiter  even  giants,  to  say  nothing  of  pig- 
mies, fight  in  vain.  Let  Jupiter  stand  in  the 
heavens  and  let  the  sycophants  bark  at  him  as  they 
will.  ...  In  Pisa,  Florence,  Bologna,  Venice  and 
Padua,  many  have  seen  the  planets,  but  all  are 
silent  on  the  subject  and  undecided  ;  for  the  greater 
number  recognise  neither  Jupiter  nor  Mars,  and 
scarcely  the  moon,  as  a  planet  .  .  .  What  is 
to  be  done?  Shall  we  side  with  Democritus  or 
Heraclitus  ?  I  think,  my  Kepler,  we  will  laugh  at 
the  extraordinary  stupidity  of  the  multitude.  What 
do  you  say  of  the  leading  philosophers  here  to 
whom  I  have  offered  a  thousand  times  of  my  own 
accord  to  show  my  studies,  but  who,  with  the  lazy 
obstinacy  of  a  serpent  who  has  eaten  his  fill,  have 
never  consented  to  look  at  the  planets,  or  moon,  or 
telescope  ?  Verily,  just  as  serpents  close  their  ears, 
so  do  men  close  their  eyes  to  the  light  of  truth.  To 
such  people  philosophy  is  a  kind  of  book,  like  the 
^Eneid  or  the  Odyssey,  where  the  truth  is  to  be 
sought,  not  in  the  universe  or  in  nature,  but  (I 
use  their  own  words)  by  comparing  texts !  How 
you  would  laugh  if  you  heard  what  things  the  first 
philosopher  of  the  faculty  at  Pisa  brought  against 
me  in  the  presence  of  the  Grand  Duke.  He  tried 
hard  with  logical  arguments,  as  if  with  magical  in- 
cantations, to  tear  down  and  argue  the  new  planets 
out  of  heaven ! l 

As  a  specimen  of  the  "  logical "  arguments  to 
which  Galileo  alludes  in  the  above  extract,  this  is 

1  Ponsard  in  his  drama  "  Galilee,"  Paris,  1867,  takes  off  capitally 
these  proud  Aristotelians  (Act  I.  Scenes  3  and  4)  ;  but  in  the  process 
Galileo's  history  is  mostly  turned  upside  down. 


what  Francesco  Sizzi,  a  Florentine  astronomer,  says 
in  his  "  Dianoia  Astronomica"  (Venice,  1611.) 

''There  are  seven  windows  given  to  animals 
in  the  domicile  of  the  head,  through  which  the 
air  is  admitted  to  the  tabernacle  of  the  body,  to 
enlighten,  to  warm,  and  to  nourish  it.  What 
are  these  parts  of  the  microcosmos?  Two  nostrils, 
two  eyes,  two  ears,  and  a  mouth.  So  in  the 
heavens,  as  in  a  macrocosmos,  there  are  two 
favourable  stars,  two  unpropitious,  two  luminaries, 
and  Mercury  undecided  and  indifferent.  From 
this  and  many  other  similarities  in  nature,  such 
as  the  seven  metals,  etc.,  which  it  were  tedious 
to  enumerate,  we  gather  that  the  number  of 
planets  is  necessarily  seven.  Moreover,  these 
satellites  of  Jupiter  are  invisible  to  the  naked 
eye,  and  therefore  can  exercise  no  influence  on 
the  earth,  and  therefore  would  be  useless,  and 
therefore  do  not  exist.  Besides,  the  Jews  and 
other  ancient  nations,  as  well  as  modern 
Europeans,  have  adopted  the  division  of  the 
week  into  seven  days,  and  have  named  them 
after  the  seven  planets.  Now,  if  we  increase 
the  number  of  the  planets,  this  whole  and 
beautiful  system  falls  to  the  ground."1 

Another  opponent  deserves  to  be  named,  if 
only  for  the  impudence  of  the  charge  he  brings 
against  Galileo. 

"We  are  not  to  believe/'  says  Christmann, 
in  his  "  Nodus  Gordius,"  "that  nature  has 
given  Jupiter  four  satellites  in  order  to  immortalise 
the  name  of  the  Medici.  These  are  the  dreams 

1  Sizzi  would  not  look  through  the  telescope,  because  he  was  sure 
beforehand  he  could  not  see  any  of  the  marvels  which  Galileo  pre- 
tended to  find  in  the  heavens  by  its  aid.  In  1618  he  was  broken  on 
the  wheel  in  Paris  for  some  political  crimes. 

104  PROFESSOR    IN     PADUA          [i592. 

of  idle  men  who  love  ludicrous  ideas  better 
than  our  laborious  maintenance  of  the  heavens. 
Nature  abhors  such  horrible  chaos,  and  to  the 
truly  wise  such  vanity  is  detestable." 

In  the  midst  of  all  this  opposition  and  abuse, 
we  must  not  suppose  that  Galileo  was  without 
friends,  and  even  some  converts.  Thus,  on  7th 
May  1  6  10,  he  was  able  to  inform  Secretary 
Vinta  that  even  the  most  exalted  persons  in 
Padua,  who  had  vehemently  attacked  him,  had 
at  length  given  up  the  game,  and  had  acknow- 
ledged, coram  publico,  that  they  were  not  only 
convinced,  but  were  ready  to  defend  him  against 
all  comers. 

The  praises  of  Kepler,  then  renowned  as 
the  first  astronomer  in  Europe,  were,  as  we 
have  just  seen,  a  great  consolation  to  him. 
Kepler  had  the  "  Sidereus  Nuncius"  at  once 
reprinted  in  Prague,  with  a  long  and  appreciative 
preface  from  himself,  and  some  laudatory  verses 
from  Thomas  Seggett,  a  learned  Scotchman,  a 
former  pupil  of  Galileo,  then  working  with  him,1 
In  the  preface,  which  is  in  the  form  of  a  letter  to 
Galileo,  dated  iQth  April  1610,  Kepler  says:  — 

"  I  was  sitting  idle  at  home  thinking  of  you, 
most  excellent  Galileo,  and  of  your  letters,  when 
the  news  was  brought  me  of  the  discovery  of 
four  planets  by  the  help  of  the  double  eye- 
glass. .  .  .  The  authority  of  Galileo  had  the 
greatest  influence  on  me,  earned  by  the  accuracy 
of  his  judgment,  and  by  the  excellence  of  his 

1   The  oft-quoted  exclamation,  Galilaee!  vicistil  is  always  wrongly 
attributed  to  Kepler.    It  occurs  in  Seggett's  verses. 

i6io]  KEPLER'S     ATTITUDE  105 

understanding.  So  I  immediately  fell  to  thinking 
how  there  could  be  any  addition  to  the  number 
of  the  planets  without  upsetting  my  '  Mysterium 
Cosmographicum,"  published  thirteen  years  ago, 
and  according  to  which  Euclid's  five  regular 
solids  do  not  allow  more  than  six  planets  round 
the  sun.  I  am,  however,  so  far  from  disbelieving 
the  existence  of  the  four  circumjovial  planets, 
that  I  long  for  a  telescope  to  anticipate  you,  if 
possible,  in  discovering  two  round  Mars  (as  the 
proportion  seems  to  require),  six  or  eight  round 
Saturn,  and,  perhaps,  one  each  round  Venus  and 

Galileo's  detractors  must  have  been  hard 
pushed  for  a  stick  wherewith  to  strike  him  when 
they  took  Kepler's  preface  to  be  a  covert  attack. 
Certainly  Maestlin,  Kepler's  old  master,  took  it 
so,  and  wrote  : — 

"  In  your  essay  you  have  plucked  Galileo's 
feathers  well — I  mean  you  have  shown  him  not 
to  be  the  inventor  of  the  telescope,  not  to  be 
the  first  to  observe  the  irregularities  of  the  moon's 
surface,  not  to  be  the  first  discoverer  of  more 
worlds  than  the  ancients  were  acquainted  with, 
etc.  One  source  of  exultation  was  still  left  him, 
but  from  the  apprehension  of  that  Martin  Horky 
has  now  entirely  delivered  me." 

1  This  is  a  specimen  of  the  wild  notions  in  which  Kepler 
revelled.  For  the  same  curious  reason  Huygens,  who  in  1659 
discovered  a  satellite  near  Saturn,  declared  that  no  more  would 
be  found,  since  the  one  near  Saturn,  Jupiter's  four,  and  the  earth's 
one,  made  up  the  number  six,  exactly  the  number  of  the  planets,  thus 
together  making  twelve,  which  is  the  first  perfect  number  1  In 
Galileo's  day  Scheiner  thought  he  saw  five  satellites  round  Jupiter, 
de  Rheita  counted  nine,  and  others  gave  him  a  round  dozen! 
Jupiter  is  now  known  to  have  five,  Saturn  eight,  besides  his  rings, 
Uranus  four,  Ne  tune  one,  and  Mars  two. 

106  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

It  is  difficult  to  see  where  in  Kepler's  preface 
Maestlin  found  all  this,  for  it  is  one  continued 
encomium.  Maestlin,  however,  was  not  the  only 
one  to  misunderstand.  The  Martin  Horky  just 
mentioned,  a  young  German  travelling  in  Italy, 
wrote  to  Kepler: — 

"  I  will  never  concede  his  four  new  planets 
to  that  Italian  from  Padua,  though  I  die  for 

He  followed  up  this  declaration  by  publishing 
a  book,  which  is  evidently  the  one  referred  to  by 
Maestlin.1  It  professes  to  examine  four  main 
questions  touching  the  alleged  planets  —  (i) 
Whether  they  exist?  (2)  What  are  they?  (3) 
What  are  they  like  ?  (4)  Why  they  are  ?  Horky 
summarily  disposes  of  the  first  question  by 
declaring  that  he  had  examined  the  heavens  with 
Galileo's  own  glass,  and  could  see  no  such  thing  as 
a  satellite  about  Jupiter.  As  to  the  second  he 
declares  solemnly  that  he  does  not  more  surely 
know  that  he  has  a  soul  in  his  body,  than  that 
reflected  rays  are  the  sole  cause  of  Galileo's 
observations.  In  regard  to  the  third  question  he 
says,  rather  illogically,  that  these  planets  are  like 
the  smallest  fly  compared  with  an  elephant ;  and  as 

1  "  Peregrinatio  contra  Nuncium  Sidereum^  Galileo,  by  the  advice 
of  Kepler,  did  not  deign  to  reply,  but  he  found  able  champions  in  his 
Scotch  friend  and  pupil,  John  Wedderburn  of  Padua  (p.  51),  and  in 
Antonio  Roffeniv  a  professor  in  the  University  of  Bologna.  Apparently, 
our  old  acquaintance,  Professor  Magini,  was  the  secret  instigator  of  this 
outrage,  but,  openly,  he  pretended  to  be  very  shocked  at  Horky's  bad 
manners.  The  latter,  however,  afterwards  confessed  to  Kepler  that 
Magini  and  other  professors  in  Bologna  were  the  real  offenders.  Sizzi 
had  admitted  the  same  inspiration  in  the  case  of  his  "  Dianoia  Astro- 
nomica,"  of  which  we  have  already  spoken. 

1610]   ATTITUDE    OF    PERIPATETICS  107 

to  the  fourth  he  concludes  that  the  only  use  of  them 
is  to  gratify  Galileo's  vanity  and  thirst  of  gold. 
Horky  sent  a  copy  of  this  amazing  production  to 
Kepler,  and,  returning  to  Prague  soon  after, 
presented  himself  to  the  great  astronomer.  But 
the  reception  was  little  to  his  taste,  for  the  burst  of 
indignation  which  followed  showed  him  Kepler's 
real  sentiments.  The  conclusion  is  characteristic. 
After  venting  his  wrath  against  "this  scum  of  a 
fellow,  whose  obscurity  had  given  him  audacity," 
Kepler,  recounting  the  story  to  Galileo,  says  : — 

"  In  the  end,  Horky  begged  so  hard  to  be 
forgiven  that  I  have  taken  him  again  into  favour 
upon  this  one  condition,  to  which  he  has  agreed — 
that  I  am  to  show  him  Jupiter's  satellites,  and  that 
he  is  to  see  them,  and  own  they  are  there."1 

After  completing  his  observations  on  Jupiter, 
Galileo  turned  his  glass  to  the  other  planets  to  see 
if  they,  perchance,  had  attendant  moons  ;  but  up 
to  25th  June  1610,  he  was  unable,  with  all  his 
diligence,  to  discover  any.  At  this  he  was  inclined 
to  be  a  little  glad  and  a  little  sorry — glad  because 
he  would  thus  be  the  only  one  destined  by  God  for 

1  See  Kepler's  letter  to  Galileo,  dated  25th  October  1610.  As 
usual,  Galileo's  right  to  the  first  discovery  of  Jupiter's  satellites  was 
contested,  the  claimant  being  Simon  Mayer  of  Anspach,  whom  we 
have  met  before  in  connection  with  the  Capra  plagiary  (p.  45  ante]. 
In  1614  he  published  at  Nuremberg  his  "Mundus  Jovialis,"  in  which 
he  formulates  his  claims.  As  to  these,  it  is  enough  to  say  with 
Humboldt  that  Kepler,  who  knew  Mayer  personally,  makes  no  mention 
of  his  discovery  either  in  the  edition  of  the  "  Sidereus  Nuncius  "  which 
he  published  in  Prague  in  April  1610,  or  in  his  letters  to  Galileo, 
or  in  those  addressed  to  the  Emperor,  Rudolph  II.,  in  the  autumn 
of  1610.  On  the  contrary,  Kepler  always  spoke  of  "the  glorious 
discovery  of  the  Medicean  stars  by  Galileo."  See  "  Cosmos,"  vol.  ii. 
p.  70S- 

io8  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [I592- 

so  great  a  discovery  ;  and  sorry  because  he  could 
not  oblige  the  French  Court  by  finding  Henri 
Quatre  a  place  in  the  heavens.  However,  before 
a  month  elapsed,  he  made  another  brilliant 
discovery — the  ring  of  Saturn ;  only  it  did  not 
appear  to  him  as  a  ring,  but  like  a  triple  star,  of 
which  the  central  one  (Saturn  itself)  was  three  to 
four  times  larger  than  the  laterals,  and  all  three  in 
a  plane  parallel  to  the  equinoctial  points  or  ecliptic. 
Not  wishing  to  make  public  the  discovery  until  he 
had  made  further  observations  in  the  autumn,  when 
Saturn  would  be  well  above  the  horizon,  and  yet 
fearing  that  some  one  might  forestall  him,  he 
announced  the  discovery  in  a  brief  letter,  dated 
Padua,  3Oth  July  1610,  to  Belisario  Vinta  at 
Florence,  but  begged  him  to  keep  it  secret  for 
a  while.  As  a  further  precaution  he  sent  to  friends 
in  Italy  and  Germany  a  jumble  of  thirty-seven 
letters  as  follows  : — 


Kepler  and  other  friends  puzzled  long  over 
this  string  of  letters,  the  former  thinking  it  had 
some  reference  to  his  favourite  planet  Mars.  At 
length  Giuliano  de  Medici,  Tuscan  ambassador 
at  the  German  Court,  was  charged  by  the  Emperor 
Rudolph  IL  to  ask  for  the  solution,  to  whom 
Galileo,  replying  i3th  November  1610,  gave  the 
following  startling  explanation  : — 

"  Altissimum  Planetam  Tergeminum  Observavi." 

"I  have  observed,"  he  goes  on  to  say,  "with 
great  admiration  that  Saturn  is  not  a  single  star 

i6xo]  SATURN'S     RING  109 

but  three  together,  which,  as  it  were,  touch  each 
other.  They  have  no  relative  motion,  and 
are  constituted  in  this  form  (see  Fig.  8,  A),  the 
middle  being  much  larger  than  the  lateral  ones. 
If  we  examine  them  with  a  glass  of  inferior 
power,  the  three  stars  do  not  appear  very 

Fig.  8. 

(Facsimiles  from  Galileo's 

(A)  (B)  (C) 


distinctly.  Saturn  has  an  oblong  appearance 
somewhat  like  an  olive,  but  by  employing  a  glass 
which  multiplies  the  superficies  more  than  1000 
times,  the  three  globes  will  be  seen  very  distinctly 
and  almost  touching,  with  only  a  small  dark  space 
between  them.1 

"  I  have  already  discovered  a  court  for  Jupiter, 
and  now  there  are  two  attendants  for  this  old  man, 
who  aid  his  steps  and  never  leave  his  side." 

The  learned  world  of  Italy  had  not  yet  had 
time  to  digest  the  surprising  facts  announced  in 

1  The  telescope  with  which  Galileo  discovered  Jupiter's  satellites 
had,  as  we  have  seen,  a  power  of  30,  enlarging  objects  "nearly 
loco  times."  Here,  and  in  other  letters  of  the  latter  half  of  1610, 
he  speaks  of  his  glass  enlarging  "  more  than  1000  times,"  but  without 
specifying  the  power,  as  in  all  previous  cases.  From  this,  Professor 
Favaro  concludes  that  between  April  and  July  Galileo  had  made  for 
himself  a  sixth  telescope.  This  may  be  so,  but  I  think  it  more  likely 
that  he  only  improved  his  fifth,  his  "old  discoverer"  (for  instance,  by 
substituting  a  better  eye-glass),  thereby  increasing  its  enlarging 
power  from  nearly  1000  to  more  than  1000.  Indeed,  in  his  letter  to 
Clavio  of  1 7th  September  1610,  he  says  as  much  — "  Having 
ultimately  improved  my  instrument  a  little  more."  Galileo  never  got 
beyond  this  power. 

i  io           PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA          [1592- 

the  "Sidereus  Nuncius,"  when  the  asserted  triple 
nature  of  Saturn  again  contravened  the  prevail- 
ing ideas  that,  by  order  of  Aristotle,  there  was 
nothing  new  to  be  found  in  the  heavens.  Accord- 
ingly, the  peripatetics  were  inclined  to  discredit 
the  discovery  ;  the  most  they  would  admit  was 
that  Saturn  appeared  to  be  of  an  oblong  shape — 
precisely  as  Galileo  said  it  appeared  when  viewed 
through  glasses  of  less  power  than  his  own. 

Continuing  his  observations,  Galileo  found  that 
the  lateral  bodies  did  not  retain  the  same  ap- 
parent magnitudes.  In  fact,  they  had  been  gradu- 
ally diminishing,  although  they  appeared  to  be 
immovable,  both  with  respect  to  each  other  and 
to  the  central  body.  They  continued  to  grow  less 
and  less  during  the  next  two  years,  and  towards 
the  close  of  1612  they  vanished  altogether!  Horri- 
fied at  this  extraordinary  phenomenon,  and  full  of 
alarm  for  the  consequences  to  himself  when  his 
Aristotelian  opponents  should  come  to  hear  of 
it,  he  thus  wrote  to  Welser  on  ist  December 
1612  : — 

"  Looking  at  Saturn  within  these  last  few 
days,  I  found  it  solitary  without  its  accustomed 
stars,  and,  in  short,  perfectly  round  and  defined 
like  Jupiter,  and  such  it  still  remains !  Now  what 
can  be  said  of  so  strange  a  metamorphosis  ?  Are, 
perhaps,  the  two  smaller  stars  consumed  like  spots 
on  the  sun?  Have  they  suddenly  vanished  and 
fled?  Or  has  Saturn  devoured  his  own  children? 
Or  was  the  appearance,  indeed,  fraud  and  illusion, 
with  which  the  glasses  have  for  so  long  mocked 
me  and  many  others  who  have  observed  with 
me?  Now,  perhaps,  the  time  is  come  to  revive 

i6io]  SATURN'S    RING  in 

the  withering  hopes  of  those  who,  guided  by  more 
profound  contemplation,  have  fathomed  all  the 
fallacies  of  the  new  observations,  and  recognised 
their  impossibility.  I  cannot  resolve  what  to  say 
in  a  change  so  strange,  so  new,  so  unexpected. 
The  shortness  of  time,  the  unexampled  occur- 
rence, the  weakness  of  my  intellect,  the  terror  of 
being  mistaken,  have  greatly  confounded  me."1 

However,  he  soon  plucked  up  courage,  and  in 
the  same  letter  conjectured  that  the  two  attendant 
stars  would  reappear  after  revolving  round  the 
planet,  and  that  by  the  summer  solstice  of  1615, 
they  would  not  only  be  again  visible,  but  be 
more  luminous,  and  larger. 

Commenting  on  the  above  quoted  passage, 
Arago2  and  other  modern  writers  after  him  con- 
clude that  Galileo  was  so  discouraged  by  the 
disappearance  of  the  lateral  bodies  that  he  made 
no  further  observations  on  Saturn.  But  Arago 
is  most  certainly  wrong  here.  Galileo  continued 
to  observe  Saturn  for  many  years.  By  the  middle 
of  1613,  he  was  able  to  inform  his  friends  that, 
according  to  his  prediction,  the  lateral  stars  were 
reappearing ! 

Apparently,  no  change  calling  for  special  com- 
ment was  noticeable  until  the  summer  of  1616, 

1  The  real  reason  is  now  well  known.  The  ring  lies  in  the  plane 
of  Saturn's  equator,  and  we  obtain  a  view  of  its  north  or  south  side 
according  as  the  planet  at  different  -parts  of  his  orbit  leans  his  north 
pole  towards  or  away  from  the  earth.  Accordingly  the  ring  goes 
through  all  its  phases  once  during  the  twenty-eight  years  of  Saturn's 
revolution  round  the  sun ;  disappearing  twice  in  that  period,  at  the 
time  when  the  planet  is  so  placed  that  he  presents  the  ring  edgeways 
to  our  line  of  vision. 

8  "Astronomic  Populaire,"  Paris,  1857,  vol.  iv.  p.  442. 

112  PROFESSOR     IN     PADUA         [1592- 

when  he  announced  a  new  fact  relating  to 
Saturn,  which  filled  his  friends  with  admiration 
and  pleasure.  For  considerably  more  than  two 
hundred  years  this  new  fact  remained  not  only 
unexplained,  but  forgotten.  Then  Alberi,  while 
preparing  his  edition  of  Galileo's  Works,  1842-56, 
found  amongst  his  MSS.  a  paper  containing  some 
calculations  belonging  to  the  year  1616,  on  the 
back  of  which  was  a  pen-and-ink  sketch,  as  shown 
in  Fig.  8,  b}.  No  explanation  of  the  figure  was 
to  be  found,  but  Alberi  concluded  that  it  was 
intended  to  show  the  form  of  Saturn's  ring  as 
seen  by  Galileo  in  August  1616,  and  as  com- 
municated to  his  friends,  as  above  stated. 

Not  satisfied  with  the  evidence  that  the  sketch 
found  by  Alberi  was  really  made  by  Galileo,  and 
that  it  belonged  to  the  date  assigned,  Professor 
Favaro  has  lately  instituted  a  new  search,  and 
with  the  happiest  results.  Taking  as  his  starting- 
point  a  letter  from  Prince  Cesi  to  Galileo  of  3rd 
September  1616,  acknowledging  the  "new  fact" 
about  Saturn,1  Favaro  has  been  rewarded  by 
finding  the  ipsissima  verba  of  Galileo.  They 
were  sent  by  Prince  Cesi  to  John  Faber  in 
Rome  for  his  information,  and  by  him  immediately 
passed  on,  as  the  latest  piece  of  news,  to  Cardinal 
Federigo  Borromeo,  amongst  whose  papers,  now 
in  the  Ambrosian  Library,  Milan,  Favaro  found 
them.  Quite  recently  the  learned  Professor  has 
read  a  paper  on  this  interesting  discovery,  from 
which  I  quote  Galileo's  words  as  follows : — 

1  Unfortunately,  the  year  1616  is  one  of  those  in  which  Galileo's 
correspondence,  as  it  has  come  down  to  us,  is  incomplete. 

i6io]  SATURN'S     RING  113 

"  I  cannot  rest  without  signifying  to  your  Ex- 
cellency [Prince  Cesi]  a  new  and  most  strange 
phenomenon  observed  by  me  in  the  last  few 
days  in  Saturn.  Its  two  companions  are  no 
longer  two  small  and  perfectly  round  globes,  as 
they  have  hitherto  appeared  to  be,  but  are  now 
bodies  much  larger,  and  of  a  form  no  longer 
round,  but,  as  shown  in  the  annexed  figure  (see 
Fig.  8,  c),  with  the  two  middle  parts  obscured, 
that  is  to  say,  two  very  dark  triangular-like  spaces 
in  the  middle  of  the  figure  and  contiguous  to  the 
middle  of  Saturn's  globe,  which  latter  is  seen, 
as  always,  perfectly  round."1 

Towards  the  end  of  his  life,  when  Galileo  was 
blind,  and  a  confirmed  invalid  from  age  and  ail- 
ments, he  once  more  referred  to  Saturn.  Cas- 
telli,  writing  to  him  from  Rome  under  date  4th 
August  1640,  said  : — 

"  The  other  evening,  on  turning  the  telescope 
towards  Saturn,  I  noticed,  to  my  great  amaze- 
ment, that  he  was  a  single  star,  distinct  and 
round,  and  with  two  other  round  stars  (one  at 
each  side)  lying  in  the  direction  from  Levante 
to  Ponente  [i.e.  nearly  east  and  west],  and  no 
longer  in  the  form  of  coifs  attached  to  the 
central  body,  such  as  your  first  observations 
showed  them." 

Replying  on  28th  August  1640,  Galileo  wrote  : — 

"  When  first  I  observed  Saturn  he  was  com- 
posed of  three  round  stars,  situated  in  a  straight 
line  from  Ponente  to  Levante,  of  which  the 
central  was  much  larger  than  the  lateral  ones. 
Thus  I  continued  to  see  him  for  some  months. 

1  Atti  del  Real*  Istituto  Veneto^  February,  1901. 

ii4  PROFESSOR    IN    PADUA          [i592- 

Then,  after  an  interval  of  some  more  months, 
I  again  examined  him  and  found  him  solitary, 
z>.  the  great  central  star  was  only  to  be  seen. 
Amazed  at  this  result,  and  supposing  it  to  be 
due  to  some  kind  of  change,  I  ventured  to  say 
that  in  five  or  six  months,  i.e.  at  the  summer 
solstice,  the  two  small  lateral  stars  would  reap- 
pear. They  did,  and  so  I  saw  them  for  a  long 
time  after.  Then  after  another  interval,  during 
which  Saturn  was  masked  by  the  sun's  rays,  I 
again  observed  him,  and  now  saw  him  with  two 
mitres,  instead  of  round  stars,  which  gave  him 
the  figure  of  an  olive.  I  saw  the  central  globe 
very  distinctly,  and  two  very  dark  spots  in  the 
middle  of  the  attachment  of  the  mitres,  or,  as 
one  may  say,  the  ears.  So  I  observed  him  for 
many  years ;  and  now  your  Rev,  writes  (as  also 
other  of  my  friends)  that  the  mitres  are  trans- 
formed into  two  small  globes.  It  may  be  that 
in  the  last  three  years,  during  which  I  have 
been  unable  to  make  any  observations,1  Saturn 
may  have  become  once  again  solitary,  and  then 
later  on  may  have  returned  to  the  form  in  which 
I  at  first  observed  him.  It  will  be  for  the  future 
and  for  others  to  make  observations,  registering 
the  times  of  mutation  so  as  to  accurately  de- 
termine their  periods  —  that  is,  if  there  will 
be  any  persons  curious  enough  to  do  what  I, 
from  the  same  motive  (not  knowing  how  to  do 
better),  have  done  for  so  long  a  time." 

Thus  we  see  that  up  to  the  last,  Galileo  had 
made  no  announcement  as  to  the  precise  nature 
of  Saturn's  appendage.  He  contented  himself 
with  describing  what  he  saw,  and,  recognising  the 
incompleteness  of  his  knowledge,  and,  perhaps, 

1  Galileo  became  totally  blind  in  December  1637, 

!6io]         HUYGENS'    DISCOVERIES          115 

the  inadequate  power  of  his  glasses,  he  left  it 
to  the  future  and  to  others  to  solve  the  problem. 
This  was  done  by  Christian  Huygens  in  1656. 
Working  with  a  refracting  telescope  with  a  magni- 
fying power  of  100  diameters,  this  celebrated 
astronomer  not  only  saw  and  described  the  ring 
as  a  ring,  but  discovered  one  of  Saturn's  satellites, 
of  which  eight  are  now  known  to  exist. 





GALILEO'S  fame,  especially  through  his  telescopic 
discoveries,  and  partly  also  through  the  exertions 
of  his  noisy  opponents,  had  long  extended  beyond 
the  bounds  of  Italy.  The  eyes  of  all  Europe 
were  directed  to  the  great  astronomer  of  Padua, 
and  students  flocked  to  him  from  all  quarters. 
According  to  a  familiar  French  proverb,  one 
must  suffer  in  order  to  be  beautiful,  so,  to  be  a 
professor  with  a  European  reputation  demands 
some  sacrifice,  entails  some  evil,  which,  under 
certain  circumstances,  may  outweigh  the  good. 
It  was  so  in  Galileo's  case ;  lectures  and  private 
lessons  of  all  kinds  left  him  little  leisure  for  his 
own  studies,  and  so,  after  twenty  years'  professor- 
ship at  Pisa  and  Padua,  he  began  to  wish  for  a 
post  in  which  he  could  devote  himself  entirely  to 
the  completion  of  various  works  on  mechanics  and 
astronomy,  for  which,  during  all  these  years,  he 
had  been  amassing  materials.  A  letter  from  Padua 
in  the  spring  of  1609,  shows  his  longing  for  this 
salaried  leisure.  It  is  not  addressed,  but  from  the 

context   it   must   have   been   written  to  some    one 

16101612]    NEGOTIATES    FOR    RETURN   117 

high  in  influence,  if  not  in  office,  at  the  Court  of 
Florence,  probably  to  Belisario  Vinta,  the  Grand 
Duke's  chief  Secretary  of  State.1  This  first 
attempt,  however,  had  no  definite  result,  so  that 
a  few  months  later  (after  the  invention  of  the 
telescope)  he  gratefully  accepted,  as  we  saw,  the 
Chair  of  Mathematics  at  Padua  for  life.  But  the 
invention  of  the  telescope  and  his  consequent  dis- 
coveries had  now  given  him  a  world-wide  reputa- 
tion, and  it  appeared  desirable  to  the  Tuscan 
Court  to  attach  to  itself  so  great  a  man. 

The  first  steps  towards  this  end  were  taken 
when  Galileo  visited  Pisa,  about  Easter  1610,  in 
order  to  show  to  Cosimo  II.  his  telescopic  dis- 
coveries, and  especially  the  satellites  of  Jupiter, 
which  bore  his  family  name  of  Medici.  Galileo's 
case  is  fully  stated  in  his  letter  of  7th  May  1610, 
to  Vinta,  as  follows  : — 

"  I  will  not  hesitate  to  say,  having  now  laboured 
during  twenty  years,  and  those  the  best  of  my  life, 
in  dealing  out  (as  one  may  say)  in  detail,  and  at 
the  request  of  everybody,  the  little  talent  which 
God  has  given  me,  that  my  wish  is  to  have 
sufficient  leisure  to  enable  me,  before  my  life 
comes  to  a  close,  to  conclude  three  great  works 
which  I  have  in  hand,  and  which  may,  perhaps, 
bring  some  credit  to  me  and  to  those  who  assist 
me  in  the  undertaking,  besides  being  a  greater 
service  to  students  than  in  the  rest  of  my  life  I 
could  do  them  by  personal  tuition.  Greater  leisure 
than  I  have  here  I  doubt  if  I  could  get  elsewhere, 
so  long  as  I  am  obliged  to  give  public  and  private 
lectures  in  order  to  meet  the  expenses  of  my  family. 

1  We  do  not  reproduce  it,  as  its  substance  is  given  in  a  later  and 
fuller  communication  quoted  infra. 

ii8          GALILEO    QUITS    PADUA        [>6io- 

Nevertheless,  not  even  the  liberty  I  have  here  is 
sufficient,  when  I  am  obliged  to  spend  many  and 
often  the  best  hours  of  the  day  at  the  call  of  this 
and  that  man.  My  salary  is  520  florins,  which  I 
am  almost  certain  will  be  advanced  to  as  many 
crowns  upon  my  re-election,  and  this  I  can  increase, 
by  receiving  pupils  and  by  private  lessons,  to  any 
extent  I  please.  My  public  duties  do  not  occupy 
me  more  than  sixty  half-hours  in  the  year,  and 
even  then  not  so  strictly  but  that  I  may,  on 
occasion  of  any  pressing  matter,  contrive  to  get 
some  vacant  days.  The  rest  of  the  time  is 
absolutely  at  my  own  disposal ;  but  as  my  private 
lectures  and  domestic  pupils  take  up  very  much 
of  this  spare  time,  to  the  hindrance  of  my  own 
studies,  I  wish  to  be  entirely  exempt  from  public 
duties,  and  in  a  great  measure  from  the  others. 
Therefore,  if  I  am  to  return  to  my  native  country, 
I  should  wish  that  leisure  and  opportunity  be 
afforded  me  to  complete  my  works  without  em- 
ploying myself  in  lecturing.  In  short,  I  wish  to 
gain  my  bread  by  my  writings,  which  I  would 
always  dedicate  to  my  Serene  Master. 

"  Of  useful  and  curious  secrets  I  possess  so 
many  that  their  very  abundance  does  me  harm, 
for  if  I  had  but  one  I  should  esteem  it  greatly, 
and,  perhaps,  through  it  I  might  have  found  that 
fortune  which  as  yet  I  have  not  met.  And, 
indeed,  I  have  not  sought  it.  Magna  longeque 
admirabilia  apud  me  habeo.  Many  are  no  good 
to  me,  or  I  should  say,  they  are  only  of  use  to 
princes  ;  for  they  alone  make  wars,  build  fortresses, 
and,  for  their  royal  pleasure,  spend  such  sums  of 
money  as  private  gentlemen  cannot,  any  more  than 
I  can. 

"The  works  which  I  have  to  finish  are  chiefly 
— (i)  two  books  on  the  system  or  structure  of  the 
Universe,  an  immense  work,  full  of  philosophy, 

1612]     CONTEMPLATED    WRITINGS     119 

astronomy,  and  geometry;  (2)  three  books  on 
local  motion,  a  science  entirely  new,  no  one, 
ancient  or  modern,  having  discovered  any  of  the 
many  admirable  consequences  which  I  demonstrate 
in  natural  and  violent  motions,  so  that  I  may  with 
reason  call  it  a  new  science  invented  by  me  from 
its  very  first  principles ;  (3)  three  books  on 
mechanics,  two  on  the  demonstration  of  principles, 
and  one  of  problems.  Although  others  have 
treated  this  subject,  no  one  either  in  quantity  or 
quality  has  done  a  quarter  of  what  I  am  writing 
on  it.  I  have  also  treatises  on  natural  and  other 
subjects,  such  as  (i)  on  sound  and  speech;  (2)  on 
light  and  colours;  (3)  on  the  tides;  £4)  on  the 
composition  of  continuous  quantity ;  (5)  on  the 
movements  of  animals  ;  and  others.  I  have  also  an 
idea  of  writing  some  books  relating  to  the  military 
art,  giving  not  only  a  model  of  what  a  soldier 
ought  to  be,  but  teaching  him  with  exact  rules 
everything  in  the  way  of  mathematics  that  it  is 
his  duty  to  know,  as  castrametation,  manoeuvring 
battalions,  fortifications,  sieges,  surveying,  estima- 
tion of  distances,  knowledge  of  artillery,  uses  of 
various  instruments,  etc. 

"  I  also  wish  to  reprint  the  'Use  of  the  Geo- 
metrical and  Military  Compass/  which  is  dedicated 
to  his  Highness,  and  is  no  longer  to  be  procured. 
This  instrument  has  met  with  such  favour  from 
the  public  that  no  others  of  the  kind  are  now 
made,  and  I  know  that  up  to  this  several  thousands 
of  mine  have  been  made  and  sold. 

"  Then  I  need  not  say  what  an  amount  of 
labour  will  be  required  to  fix  the  periods  of  the 
four  new  planets,  a  task  the  more  laborious  the 
more  one  thinks  of  it,  as  they  are  separated  from 
one  another  by  very  brief  intervals,  and  are  all 
very  similar  in  size  and  colour.  So  that,  illustrious 
Signor,  I  must  begin  to  think  in  what  way  I  can 

120          GALILEO    QUITS    PADUA        [1610- 

free  myself  from  those  employments  which  so  retard 
my  own  studies — particularly  those,  which  another 
might  fill  quite  as  well  as  I  can.  Therefore,  I  beg 
you  to  bring  these  considerations  to  the  notice  of 
his  Highness,  and  acquaint  me  with  his  decision. 

"As  to  salary,  I  shall  be  quite  content  with 
the  sum  you  named  to  me  at  Pisa,  feeling  it  an 
honour  to  be  his  Highness  s  servant.  I  say 
nothing  as  to  the  amount,  being  convinced  that  as 
I  am  to  live  upon  it  his  Highness  would  not 
wish  to  deprive  me  of  any  of  those  comforts  which 
others  enjoy,  who  are  less  in  want  of  them  than 
I  am.  Therefore  I  say  no  more  on  this  point. 

"  Finally,  as  to  the  title  and  pretext  by  which 
I  take  service,  I  would  wish  that  to  the  title  of 
Mathematician  his  Highness  would  be  pleased  to 
add  that  of  Philosopher,  as  I  have  studied  a  greater 
number  of  years  in  philosophy  than  months  in  pure 
mathematics.  And  how  far  I  have  profited  by  it, 
and  if  I  can  and  ought  to  merit  the  title,  I  hope 
to  be  able  to  show  his  Highness  as  often  as  it  is 
his  pleasure  to  give  me  an  opportunity  of  discuss- 
ing such  subjects  with  those  whose  knowledge  is 
most  esteemed." l 

1  Some  of  the  treatises  named  in  this  letter,  like  the  one  on 
dialling  previously  mentioned,  and,  it  is  feared,  more  of  Galileo's 
papers  and  correspondence,  are  now  lost,  partly  through  the  accidents 
of  his  stormy  life,  and  in  transport  from  place  to  place,  and  partly, 
as  we  shall  see  later  on,  through  the  extraordinary  negligence  and 
criminality  of  custodians.  The  loss  of  the  essay  on  Continuous 
Quantity  is  particularly  to  be  regretted,  as  it  would  be  interesting  to 
see  how  far  he  succeeded  in  methodising  his  thoughts  on  this  im- 
portant subject.  It  is  to  his  early  disciple  Buonaventura  Cavalieri 
(who  refused  to  publish  his  book  so  long  as  he  hoped  to  see  Galileo's 
printed)  that  we  owe  "  The  Method  of  Indivisibles,"  which  is  recog- 
nised as  one  of  the  first  germs  of  Newton's  Fluxional  Calculus.  The 
treatises  on  sound  and  speech  and  on  light  and  colours  were  probably 
never  completed,  but  we  find  fragments  of  them  in  later  works,  as  "II 
Saggiatore"  and  the  Dialogues  of  1632  and  1638.  Similarly,  of  the 
movements  of  animals  we  have  the  fragment  "  Intorno  al  camminare 
del  cavallo." 

i6i2]    QUITTING    PADUA    A    MISTAKE    121 

This  letter  brought  the  business  to  a  speedy 
settlement.  On  5th  June,  Vinta  wrote  that 
Cosimo  II.  was  pleased  to  nominate  him  as  First 
Mathematician  of  the  University  of  Pisa,  with 
a  yearly  salary  of  1000  scudi,  and  without  the 
obligation  of  residing  at  Pisa,  or  of  delivering 
lectures.  In  reply,  Galileo  declared  himself  en- 
tirely satisfied  with  the  proposed  conditions,  but 
added  that  he  would  like  to  be  designated  not 
only  First  Mathematician  at  Pisa,  but  also  Philo- 
sopher and  Mathematician  to  the  Grand  Duke 
himself.  Accordingly,  on  i2th  July  1610,  the 
decree  summoning  him  to  Florence  in  this  two- 
fold capacity  was  issued. 

Notwithstanding  the  many  advantages  which 
this  new  post  secured  to  him,  it  was  a  bad  ex- 
change from  the  free  soil  of  Republican  Venice  to 
the  protection  (ineffectual  as  it  proved  at  the  crisis 
of  his  life)  of  a  princely  house  which,  although 
personally  well  disposed  towards  him,  could  never 
shield  him  as  could  and  would  the  Republic. 
About  1542,  the  Jesuits  had  established  a  school 
in  Padua,  and,  increasing  gradually  in  influence, 
had  shown  symptoms  of  a  design  to  get  the 
management  of  public  education  entirely  into  their 
own  hands.  After  several  violent  disputes,  it 
was  at  length  decreed  by  the  Venetian  Senate, 
in  1591,  that  no  Jesuit  should  be  allowed  to  give 
instruction  at  Padua  in  any  of  the  sciences  taught  in 
the  University.  As  years  dragged  on,  the  relations 
between  Rome  and  Venice  became  increas- 
ingly strained,  until  at  last,  in  April  1606,  Pope 
Paul  V,  took  the  extreme  step  of  placing  the 

122          RETURNS    TO     FLORENCE       [1610- 

contumacious  Republic  under  an  interdict.  The 
Senate's  reply  was  to  expel  for  ever  the  Jesuits 
from  the  soil  of  Venice.1  Since  this  event,  full 
liberty  of  thought  and  teaching  was  enjoyed  in  the 
Republic ;  whereas,  in  religious  Tuscany,  Church 
influences  were  very  strong  and  weighed  heavily  in 
all  matters,  and  particularly  in  politics  and  science. 

Early  in  September  1610,  Galileo  left  Padua, 
where,  eighteen  years  before,  he  had  found  ^  a 
ready  welcome  and  an  ever-increasing  apprecia- 
tion, deserting  his  staunch  friends  Paolo  Sarpi, 
Francesco  Sagredo,  and  many  others.  Indeed, 
he  seems  to  have  felt  himself  that  he  was  not 
behaving  well  in  this  matter,  for,  in  his  letter  to 
Vinta  last  quoted,  he  begged  that  the  negotia- 
tions be  kept  secret  until  all  was  decided  and 
therefore  irrevocable.2 

Although  he  was  received  in  Florence  with 
much  honour,  soon  the  clouds  of  envy,  malice, 
and  bigotry,  began  to  form  round  him,  and  ulti- 
mately, as  we  shall  see,  combined,  if  not  to  his 
destruction,  at  least  to  embitter  the  rest  of  his 
life.  Sagredo  foresaw  this  clearly.  On  his  re- 
turn from  the  East  in  the  spring  of  1611,  he 
wrote  expressing  his  regret  and  disappointment 
at  not  finding  Galileo,  and  his  grave  doubts  as 
to  the  wisdom  of  the  change. 

1  Their  nocturnal  deportation  from  the  city  of  lagoons  is  amusingly 
told  in  Galileo's  letter  of  nth  May  1606,  to  his  brother  Michelangelo. 

2  Galileo  tried  to  induce  Kepler  to  apply  for  his  chair  in  Padua, 
but  without  success.     Again  in  1617,  on  the  death  of  Magini,  Kepler 
was  offered  the  vacant  chair  in  Bologna,  which  he  once  more  refused. 
See  Martin's  "Galile'e,"  Paris,  1868,  pp.  14  and  194;  and  for  Kepler's 
reasons,  Drinkwater's  "  Life  of  Kepler,"  in  Library  of  Useful  Know- 
ledge, p.  38. 

1612]        THE     PHASES     OF    VENUS          123 

" Where,"  he  asks,  "will  you  find  the  same 
liberty  as  in  Venetian  territory,  and,  notwith- 
standing all  the  good  qualities  of  the  young  ruler 
of  Tuscany,  who  can  promise  with  any  confidence 
that,  if  not  ruined,  you  will  not  be  persecuted  and 
tossed  on  the  surging  billows  of  Court  life  by  the 
raging  storms  of  envy?" 

Within  less  than  a  month  after  his  arrival  in 
Florence,  Galileo  made  another  astounding  dis- 
covery in  the  heavens  —  namely,  the  varying 
crescent  form  of  the  planet  Venus.  He  announced 
this  discovery  to  his  correspondent,  Giuliano  de 
Medici  at  Prague,  in  an  anagram,  as  in  the  case 
of  his  observations  on  Saturn,  as  follows : — 

"Haec  immatura  a  me  iam  frustra  leguntur  o  y" 

and  after  convincing  himself,  by  three  months' 
observations,  of  its  correctness,  he  sent  the  follow- 
ing solution  of  the  riddle  on  ist  January  1611. 

"  Cynthiae  figuras  aemulatur  mater  amorum" 

"That  is,  Venus  rivals  the  appearances  of  the 
moon ;  for  Venus  being  now  arrived  at  that  part 
of  her  orbit  in  which  she  is  between  the  earth 
and  the  sun,  and  with  only  a  part  of  her  en- 
lightened surface  turned  towards  us,  the  telescope 
shows  her  in  a  crescent  form,  like  the  moon  in  a 
similar  position." 

Tracing  her  through  the  visible  portion  of 
her  orbit,  Galileo  had  the  satisfaction  of  seeing 
the  illuminated  part  assume  successively  the  forms 
appropriate  to  his  hypothesis.  It  was  with  reason, 
therefore,  that  he  laid  stress  on  the  importance  of 
this  observation,  which  established  yet  another 

i24         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

fact  obnoxious  to  the  Aristotelians,  namely,  that 
a  new  point  of  resemblance  was  here  found 
between  the  moon  and  one  of  the  principal 
planets ;  for,  as  it  was  well  known  that  the  moon 
was  luminous  only  when  exposed  to  the  sun's 
rays,  so  this  change  of  figure  in  Venus  demon- 
strated that  she,  and,  therefore,  probably  all  the 
other  planets,  were  of  themselves  not  luminous, 
but  only  reflected  the  sunlight  which  fell  upon 
them.  And  thence  he  concluded  that  they  must 
all  revolve  round  the  sun  —  "a  fact  which  was 
surmised  by  Pythagoras,  Copernicus,  Kepler,  and 
their  disciples,  but  which  could  not  be  proved  by 
ocular  demonstration,  as  it  now  can  be  in  the  case 
of  Venus  and  Mercury.  Kepler  and  the  other 
Copernicans  may  now  be  proud  to  have  judged 
and  philosophised  correctly,  and  it  may  well  excite 
disgust  that  they  were  regarded  by  the  generality 
of  men  of  book-learning  as  having  little  under- 
standing and  as  not  much  better  than  fools.'* 

It  had  always  been  a  formidable  objection  to 
the  Copernican  theory  that  Venus  and  Mercury 
did  not  exhibit  the  same  phases  as  the  Moon, 
which  they  should  do  if  they  revolved  round  the 
sun.  Copernicus  himself  had  endeavoured  to 
account  for  this,  by  supposing  that  the  sun's  rays 
passed  freely  through  the  body  of  the  planets,  and 
Galileo  took  occasion  to  praise  him  for  not  being 
deterred  from  adopting  the  system  (which  on  the 
whole  appeared  to  agree  best  with  the  phenomena) 
by  meeting  with  some  appearances  which  it  did 
not  enable  him  to  explain. 

Another  objection,  equally  embarrassing  to  the 

j6ia]       ON     MARS     AND    MERCURY        125 

Ptolemaic  and  Copernican  systems,  was  raised. 
Why,  it  was  asked,  did  not  Venus  appear  four 
times  as  large  when  nearest  to  the  earth  as  when 
farthest  away?  Galileo  was  now  able  to  answer 
this  also.  Venus  does  not  appear  four  times  as 
large  when  she  is  nearest  to  the  earth,  simply 
because  her  illuminated  part  is  not  then  four 
times  as  large,  though  her  diameter  is ;  and  as 
with  the  naked  eye  we  judge  of  her  size  only  by 
the  amount  of  light,  the  nearer  distance  is  offset 
by  the  lesser  light,  so  that  her  size  does  not 
seem  to  vary.1 

Milton,  whose  Paradise  Lost  has  many  allusions 
to  Galileo  and  his  astronomy,  has  not  suffered  this 
brilliant  discovery  to  pass  unnoticed.  After  describ- 
ing the  creation  of  the  sun  he  adds  : — 

"  Hither,  as  to  their  fountain  other  stars 
Repairing,  in  their  golden  urns  draw  light, 
And  hence  the  morning  planet  gilds  her  horns." 2 

Of  changes  in  Mars  Galileo  could  say  little  for 
certain.  After  observing  him  carefully  for  four 
months  he  was  seen  to  vary  in  size  according  to 
his  distance  from  the  sun.  Galileo  thought  that 
when  the  planet  was  at  the  middle  points  of  his 
orbit  he  observed  changes  in  the  illuminated  disc 
something  like  the  phases  of  the  Moon  and  Venus ; 
but  it  is  difficult,  he  adds,  with  so  small  an  object 
to  say  whether  it  is  always  perfectly  round. 

1  The  revolution  of  Mercury  about  the  Sun  which  Galileo  here 
infers,  was  confirmed  as  a  fact  by  Kepler's  observation  of  the  transit 
of  Mercury  in  1630.  Our  countryman,  Horrox,  was  the  first  to  observe 
a  transit  of  Venus  in  1639. 

a  Book  VII.  v.  364.  For  other  references,  see  Book  I.  v.  286; 
III.  565  et  seq.,  722  et  seq.;  IV.  589;  V.  261,  414 ;  VII.  577;  VIII. 

124         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

fact  obnoxious  to  the  Aristotelians,  namely,  that 
a  new  point  of  resemblance  was  here  found 
between  the  moon  and  one  of  the  principal 
planets ;  for,  as  it  was  well  known  that  the  moon 
was  luminous  only  when  exposed  to  the  sun's 
rays,  so  this  change  of  figure  in  Venus  demon* 
strated  that  she,  and,  therefore,  probably  all  the 
other  planets,  were  of  themselves  not  luminous, 
but  only  reflected  the  sunlight  which  fell  upon 
them.  And  thence  he  concluded  that  they  must 
all  revolve  round  the  sun  —  "a  fact  which  was 
surmised  by  Pythagoras,  Copernicus,  Kepler,  and 
their  disciples,  but  which  could  not  be  proved  by 
ocular  demonstration,  as  it  now  can  be  in  the  case 
of  Venus  and  Mercury.  Kepler  and  the  other 
Copernicans  may  now  be  proud  to  have  judged 
and  philosophised  correctly,  and  it  may  well  excite 
disgust  that  they  were  regarded  by  the  generality 
of  men  of  book-learning  as  having  little  under- 
standing and  as  not  much  better  than  fools." 

It  had  always  been  a  formidable  objection  to 
the  Copernican  theory  that  Venus  and  Mercury 
did  not  exhibit  the  same  phases  as  the  Moon, 
which  they  should  do  if  they  revolved  round  the 
sun.  Copernicus  himself  had  endeavoured  to 
account  for  this,  by  supposing  that  the  sun's  rays 
passed  freely  through  the  body  of  the  planets,  and 
Galileo  took  occasion  to  praise  him  for  not  being 
deterred  from  adopting  the  system  (which  on  the 
whole  appeared  to  agree  best  with  the  phenomena) 
by  meeting  with  some  appearances  which  it  did 
not  enable  him  to  explain. 

Another  objection,  equally  embarrassing  to  the 

1612]       ON     MARS    AND    MERCURY        125 

Ptolemaic  and  Copernican  systems,  was  raised. 
Why,  it  was  asked,  did  not  Venus  appear  four 
times  as  large  when  nearest  to  the  earth  as  when 
farthest  away?  Galileo  was  now  able  to  answer 
this  also.  Venus  does  not  appear  four  times  as 
large  when  she  is  nearest  to  the  earth,  simply 
because  her  illuminated  part  is  not  then  four 
times  as  large,  though  her  diameter  is ;  and  as 
with  the  naked  eye  we  judge  of  her  size  only  by 
the  amount  of  light,  the  nearer  distance  is  offset 
by  the  lesser  light,  so  that  her  size  does  not 
seem  to  vary.1 

Milton,  whose  Paradise  Lost  has  many  allusions 
to  Galileo  and  his  astronomy,  has  not  suffered  this 
brilliant  discovery  to  pass  unnoticed.  After  describ- 
ing the  creation  of  the  sun  he  adds  : — 

"  Hither,  as  to  their  fountain  other  stars 
Repairing,  in  their  golden  urns  draw  light, 
And  hence  the  morning  planet  gilds  her  horns." 2 

Of  changes  in  Mars  Galileo  could  say  little  for 
certain.  After  observing  him  carefully  for  four 
months  he  was  seen  to  vary  in  size  according  to 
his  distance  from  the  sun.  Galileo  thought  that 
when  the  planet  was  at  the  middle  points  of  his 
orbit  he  observed  changes  in  the  illuminated  disc 
something  like  the  phases  of  the  Moon  and  Venus; 
but  it  is  difficult,  he  adds,  with  so  small  an  object 
to  say  whether  it  is  always  perfectly  round. 

1  The  revolution  of  Mercury  about  the  Sun  which  Galileo  here 
infers,  was  confirmed  as  a  fact  by  Kepler's  observation  of  the  transit 
of  Mercury  in  1630.  Our  countryman,  Horrox,  was  the  first  to  observe 
a  transit  of  Venus  in  1639. 

a  Book  VII.  v.  364.  For  other  references,  see  Book  I.  v.  286 ; 
III.  565  et  seq.,  722  et  seq.;  IV.  589*;  V.  261,  4H ;  VII.  577;  VIIL 

126         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

Of  Mercury  lie  also  observed  little,  because 
that  planet's  orbit  does  not  take  him  far  from 
the  sun,  and,  in  consequence,  his  small  disc  is 
always  so  resplendent  that  not  even  the  best 
telescope  could  deprive  him  of  his  factitious  rays 

In  consideration  of  the  intense  interest,  friendly 
and  otherwise,  excited  by  these  epoch-making 
discoveries,  and  the  probability  of  their  being 
used  against  him  in  Rome,  Galileo  thought  it 
desirable  to  go  there  himself,  and  acquaint  at 
first  hand  the  savants  and  dignitaries  of  the 
Church  with  his  work  in  the  heavens.  These 
people,  he  argued,  must  be  first  made  to  see  the 
facts  with  their  own  eyes,  so  that  they  may  be 
able  to  comprehend  and  assent  to  the  conclusions 
to  be  drawn  from  them.  Therefore,  on  I5th 
January  1611,  he  wrote  to  Vinta  (who  was  then 
with  the  Court  at  Pisa),  informing  him  of  his 
design,  adducing  the  above  reasons,  and  request- 
ing the  necessary  leave  of  absence.  His  request 
was  not  only  granted  but  the  Grand  Duke  placed 
a  litter  at  his  disposal,  undertook  to  defray  all 
expenses,  and  directed  the  Tuscan  Ambassador 
in  Rome  to  lodge  him  at  the  Embassy  and  to 
entertain  him  during  the  visit.  Illness,  however, 
supervened,  so  that  it  was  not  till  23rd  March 
1611,  that  he  was  able  to  set  out,  provided  with 
many  letters  of  introduction,  amongst  them  one 
from  Michelangelo  the  younger  (nephew  of  the 

1  For  Galileo's  observations  on  Venus,  Mercury,  and  Mars,  see  his 
letters  to  Castelli,  dated  soth  December  1610,  and  to  Clavio  in  Rome 
under  the  same  date. 

i6i2]        SECOND    VISIT    TO    ROME         127 

great  sculptor  and  painter)  to  Cardinal  Barberini 
(afterwards  Pope  Urban  VI I L), 

He  was  received  with  the  greatest  distinction 
by  princes  and  all  the  Church  dignitaries,  who 
vied  with  learned  laymen  in  doing  him  honour. 
Even  those  who  discredited  his  discoveries  and 
dreaded  their  results,  were  as  eager  as  the  true 
friends  of  science  to  see  and  hear  this  wonder  of 
the  age.  His  first  duty  was  to  call  on  his  old 
friends,  Cardinal  del  Monte  and  the  Jesuit  Father 
Clavio,  by  the  latter  of  whom  he  was  presented 
to  the  leading  Jesuits  of  the  Roman  College. 

After  exhibiting  on  several  occasions  in  the 
garden  of  the  Quirinal  Palace,  belonging  to 
Cardinal  Bandini,  all  his  recent  discoveries,  or 
"  celestial  novelties "  as  they  were  called,  a 
commission  of  four  scientific  members  of  the 
Roman  College  was  appointed,  at  the  request  of 
Cardinal  Bellarmine,  to  examine  and  report.  As 
the  result,  the  commissioners,  Fathers  Clavio, 
Griemberger,  Maelcote,  and  Lembo,  were  con- 
strained to  admit  what  they  had  long  denied 
and  ridiculed,  being  now  convinced  by  ocular 
proofs  of  the  truth  of  the  facts  announced  by 
Galileo.  By  this  opinion  (given  on  24th  April) 
of  the  Papal  experts,  his  discoveries  received  to 
a  certain  extent  the  sanction  of  the  Church. 
Attentions  of  all  sorts  were  now  heaped  upon 
him ;  Pope  Paul  V.  granted  him  a  long  audience, 
and  assured  him  of  his  unalterable  good-will, 
which,  however,  did  not  remain  so,  as  the  sequel 
will  show.  High  dignitaries  of  the  Church 
followed  suit,  and  were  lavish  in  their  admiration ; 

128         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

and  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei  (founded  in  1603 
by  Prince  Cesi),  the  prototype  of  our  Royal 
Society,  elected  him  a  member.  So  that  when  he 
took  his  departure,  on  the  4th  of  June,  Galileo 
left  behind  in  Rome  many  sincere  friends  and 
admirers,  and  some  very  envious  foes. 

A  letter  of  3ist  May,  from  Cardinal  del  Monte 
to  Cosimo  II.,  will  best  show  how  Galileo's  friends 
regarded  his  visit. 

"Galileo  has,  during  his  stay  in  Rome,  given 
great  satisfaction,  and  I  think  he  must  have  felt 
it  no  less  himself,  for  he  had  the  opportunity  of 
showing  his  discoveries  so  well,  that  to  all  clever 
and  learned  men  here  they  seemed  no  less  true 
and  well-founded  than  astonishing.  Were  we 
still  living  under  the  ancient  republic  of  Rome  I 
verily  believe  there  would  have  been  a  column 
on  the  Capitol  erected  in  his  honour/' 

Immediately  after  the  publication  of  the  report 
of  the  Bellarmine  Commission,  Galileo  announced 
a  new  discovery  in  the  heavens,  namely,  dark 
spots  on  the  body  of  the  sun,  which,  towards  the 
end  of  April  1611,  he  showed  to  several  prelates 
and  savants  in  Rome. 

Describing  these  phenomena  at  a  later  date1 
Galileo  states  that  at  first  he  was  undecided 
whether  to  explain  the  ever-changing  nature,  and 
position  of  the  spots  by  supposing  that  the  sun 
revolved  on  his  own  axis,  or  by  imagining  that 
other  unknown  stars,  besides  Mercury  and  Venus, 
revolved  about  the  sun,  which  were  visible  only 
as  spots,  and  invisible  at  other  times  on  account 

1  "  Discourse  on  Floating  Bodies,"  Florence,  1612. 

i6i2]  SUN-SPOTS  129 

of  their  small  distance  from  him.  But  further 
observation  led  him  to  abandon  the  latter  sup- 
position and  to  announce  positively1  that  the 
spots  were  in  actual  contact  with  the  body  of 
the  sun,  where  they  were  continually  appearing 
and  disappearing,  much  as  clouds  about  our 
earth  ;  that  their  figures  were  very  irregular, 
some  being  very  dark  and  others  less  so ;  that 
one  would  often  divide  into  two  or  three,  and  at 
other  times  two  or  three  would  unite  into  one  ; 
and  that  they  all  had  a  common  and  regular 
motion,  being  carried  round  with  the  sun,  which 
turned  on  its  axis  in  a  little  less  than  a  lunar 
month,2  and  in  the  same  direction  as  the  planets. 

These  observations  were,  in  their  consequences 
to  Galileo,  particularly  unfortunate,  as  in  the  course 
of  the  controversy  in  which  they  entangled  him,  he 
first  became  personally  embroiled  with  the  powerful 
Jesuit  party,  whose  influence  was  one  of  the  chief 
causes  of  his  subsequent  misfortunes. 

A  Jesuit  father,  Christopher  Scheiner,  Professor 
of  Mathematics  at  Ingolstadt,  claimed  priority  in 
the  discovery  of  the  Sun-spots,  asserting  that  early 
in  1611  he  first  noticed  them  and  showed 
them  to  his  pupils.  Scheiner  stated  his  case  in 
three  letters  over  the  signature  Apelles  latens 
post  tabulam,  and  addressed  to  Mark  Welser, 
Chief  Magistrate  of  Augsburg.  In  the  first 
letter  dated  i2th  November  1611,  he  states 
that  he  made  his  first  observations  seven  months 
previously ;  but  apparently  he  then  attached  no 

1  Letter  to  Prince  Cesi,  dated  i2th  May  1612. 

2  Modern  observations  make  it  vary  from  25  to  27 J  days. 


130         RETURNS    TO     FLORENCE       [16x0- 

value  to  them,  for,  on  resuming  his  work  in  the 
following  October,  he  thought  the  appearances 
arose  from  some  defect  in  his  glasses — an  idea 
which  was  only  dissipated  by  these  further  studies,1 
Clearly  then,  it  was  only  after  resuming  his  observa- 
tions (October  1611)  that  he  believed  in  the  actual 
existence  of  the  spots,  which  he  then  explained 
by  supposing  them  to  be  caused  by  multitudes  of 
little  planets,  revolving  round  the  sun  in  an  orbit 
inside  Mercury,  and  producing  the  appearance  of 
spots  in  crossing  his  disc. 

On  the  publication  of  Schemer's  letters  at 
Augsburg,  Welser,  on  6th  January  1612,  sent  a 
copy  to  Galileo  requesting  to  be  favoured  with  his 
opinions  of  the  phenomena  therein  described. 
Galileo  replied  in  three  letters  2  in  which  he  easily 
combated  Scheiner  on  the  nature  of  the  spots, 
and  stated  that  his  own  observations  dated  back 
eighteen  months.8 

1  An  amusing  incident  is  related  in   connection  with  Schemer's 
observations,  which  shows  how  the  authority  of  Aristotle  held  its 
ascendency  over  men's  minds  even  when  his  dogmas  were  opposed 
to  the  testimony  of  the  senses.    On  communicating  his  discovery  to 
the    Provincial  of  his    Order,    the    latter  replied :    "  I  have    read 
Aristotle's  writings  from  end  to  end  many  times,  and  I  can  assure  you 
I  have  nowhere  found  anything  similar  to  what  you  describe.    Go,  my 
son,  and  tranquillise  yourself ;  be  assured  that  what  you  take  for  spots 
on  the  sun  are  the  faults  of  your  glasses,  or  of  your  eyes."    Scheiner 
was  only  permitted  to  publish   his    observations    anonymously,   as 
mentioned  in  the  text. 

2  The  first  of  which,  dated  4th  May  1612,  is  now  in  the  British 
Museum  in  autograph ;    the  second  is  dated  I4th  August,  and  the 
third  ist  December.    All  three  were  published  in  1613  under  the 
title  "  Istoria  e  Dimostrazioni  delle  Macchie  Solari." 

3  He  says  this  at  the  beginning  of  the  first  letter,  which  is  dated 
4th  May   1612.     This  would    fix  the  date  at  about  beginning  of 
November  1610 ;    yet,  from  Fra    Micanzio's   letter  to    Galileo   of 
27th  September  1631,  the  first  observations  would  appear  to  go  back 

i6i2]       SUN-SPOTS    AND    FACULAE      131 

In  these  letters  Galileo  further  stated  that  the 
spots  often  dispersed  like  vapours  or  clouds,  which 
he  supposed  them  to  be  ;  that  they  sometimes  lasted 
only  one  or  two  days,  and  at  other  times  thirty  or 
forty  days ;  that  they  contracted  in  breadth  as 
they  approached  the  sun's  limb,  without  diminishing 
their  length ;  that  they  described  circles  parallel  to 
each  other;  that  the  rotation  of  the  sun  again 
brought  the  same  spots  into  view ;  and  that  they 
were  never  seen  to  extend  to  a  greater  distance 
than  30°  from  the  sun's  equator.1 

Besides  the  spots,  Galileo's  telescope  disclosed 
other  interesting  appearances  on  the  sun's  disc. 
Some  parts  are  perceived  to  be  brighter  than  the 
rest  of  the  surface,  and  hence  are  called  faculae. 
These  phenomena  are  described  in  the  third  letter 
to  Welser,  where  with  great  acuteness  he  adduces 
them  as  a  proof  that  the  spots  are  attached  to  the 
surface  of  the  sun,  and  are  not  little  planets  as 
Scheiner  supposed ;  for  the  telescope  frequently 
showed  spots  and  faculae  travelling  across  the  sun's 
disc  together ;  and,  accepting  Schemer's  supposition 
with  regard  to  the  former,  it  would  be  probable 
that  the  latter  also  should  sometimes  appear  as 
bright  spots  beyond  the  sun's  limb — a  conclusion 
which  was  totally  at  variance  with  all  his  observa- 

These  letters  were  written  from  the  Villa  delle 
Selve  of  his   friend  Filippo    Salviati,   near   Signa 

to  the  time  when  Galileo  was  still  at  Padua,  say  to  August  But 
writing  so  long  after  the  event,  Micanzio  may  well  be  mistaken  as  to 
the  date. 

1  Appended  to  the  second  letter  are  forty  sketches  of  the  spots  as 
observed  from  day  to  day  during  June,  July,  and  August  1612. 

132         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

(9  fniles  from  Florence),  where  Galileo  spent  much  of 
his  time  at  this  period,  and  particularly  during  his 
frequent  indispositions,  as  he  considered  that  the 
air  of  the  city  was  prejudicial  to  his  complaints.1 

The  letters,  with  Schemer's  appended,  were 
printed  at  Rome  in  March  1613,  and  were  dedicated 
to  Salviati.  They  were  published  under  the 
auspices  of  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei,  "  In  order," 
as  the  Academy  report  sets  forth,  "to  mark  its 
sense  of  the  merit  of  the  work  and  the  claim  of  its 
author  to  be  regarded  as  the  first  discoverer  of 

In  order  to  complete  our  history  of  the  Sun- 
spots  in  so  far  as  Galileo  is  concerned,  we  have 
left  unnoticed  other  important  matters  on  which 
he  was  at  the  same  time  engaged,  and  to  these 
we  must  now  return.  Soon  after  his  return  to 
Florence  in  June  1611,  he  wrote  a  pamphlet  in 
the  usual  form  of  a  letter,  dated  ist  September 
1611,  and  addressed  to  Father  Griemberger,  "on 

1  Salviati  had  ever  been  one  of  his  wannest  friends,  and  delighted 
in  drawing  round  him  all  the  great  scientists  of  the  time.    He  was  a 
member  of  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei,  and  although  not  an  author  of 
any  great  work,  or  of  any  important  discovery,  he  has  yet  earned,  by 
his  liberality  to  science,  and  by  his  devotion  to  Galileo,  an  honoured 
name  that  will  not  die.    He  died  22nd  March  1614,  and  in  after  years 
Galileo  raised  to  his  memory  a  monument  more    enduring   than 
marble,  by  assigning  to  him  the  place  of  honour  in  the  immortal 
Dialogues  of  1632,  where  Salviati  is  the  Copernican  interlocutor,  and 
represents,  in  fact,  Galileo  himself  in  the  dialogue. 

2  The  first  discovery  of  Sun-spots  has  also  been  claimed    for 
Thomas  Hariot  in  England,  for  Simon  Mayer  in  Germany,  and  for 
Johann  Fabricius  in  Holland.     The  first  two  claims  rest  on  very 
doubtful  evidence ;    the  third  is  better  founded.     In  fact,  Fabricius 
was  the  first  to  publish  the  results  of  his  observations  in  his  "  De 
Maculis  in  Sole  Observatis"  (Wittenberg,  June  1611),  and  therefore, 
according  to  modem  notions,  he  has  the  best  claim  to  priority.    For 
more,  see  Grant's  "  History  of  Physical  Astronomy,"  pp.  213-15. 

i6i3]         ON    LUNAR    MOUNTAINS  133 

the  Inequalities  of  the  Moon's  surface,"  or  lunar 
mountains.  The  moon  was  with  him  a  stock 
subject  for  observation,  the  results  of  which  he 
communicated  from  time  to  time  in  letters  to 
(besides  Griemberger)  Welser,  Brengger,  Gallan- 
zoni,  and  others.  Indeed,  his  last  astronomical 
discovery,  towards  the  close  of  life  and  just  before 
he  became  blind,  was  connected  with  the  moon. 

It  had  been  asserted  that,  as  the  full  moon 
always  presented  a  well-defined  outline,  whether 
when  viewed  with  the  naked  eye,  or  through  a 
telescope,  it  was  impossible  that  there  could  exist 
any  equalities  around  her  circumference.  Galileo, 
however,  maintained  that  the  irradiation  of  the 
moon's  light,  by  obliterating  any  asperities  around 
her  edge,  might  effectually  conceal  the  real  nature 
of  that  part  of  her  surface.  With  respect  to 
irradiation  generally,  he  remarked  that  it  increases 
with  the  brightness  of  the  object.  It  is  from  this 
cause  that  the  planets  near  the  sun  have  a  greater 
irradiation  than  those  that  are  more  remote.  So 
intense  is  the  irradiation  of  Mercury,  that  it  is 
impossible,  even  with  the  most  powerful  telescope, 
to  deprive  him  of  his  brilliant  corona.  The  same 
is  true,  though  in  a  less  degree,  with  respect  to 
Mars.  On  the  other  hand,  Jupiter,  and  especially 
Saturn,  being  more  feebly  illuminated  by  the  solar 
light,  lose  their  irradiation  in  the  telescope,  and 
disclose  their  true  figures.  With  respect  to  Venus, 
when  she  is  near  her  inferior  conjunction,  she 
resembles  the  new  moon  ;  but  such  is  the  intensity 
of  her  irradiation,  that  she  appears  to  the  naked 
eye  like  any  other  star.  In  this  position,  however, 

134         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610 

as  the  extent  of  the  illuminated  surface,  is  small,  and 
the  light  is  at  the  same  time  enfeebled  by  the 
obliquity  of  the  surface,  it  is  possible  by  means  of 
a  telescope  to  discern  the  real  appearance  of  the 
planet.  When,  however,  she  is  near  her  superior 
conjunction,  she  presents  a  complete  hemisphere 
of  vivid  light  towards  the  earth  of  such  intensity 
that  even  the  most  perfect  telescope  does  not 
suffice  to  destroy  her  irradiation  and  reveal  to 
us  her  true  figure. 

Galileo,  therefore,  contends  that  since  the 
effect  of  irradiation  is  so  great  as  to  conceal  from 
the  unaided  eye  the  immense  cavity  of  Venus 
when  she  assumes  the  form  of  a  crescent,  it  is 
much  more  probable  that  a  telescope  will  fail  to 
efface  the  irradiation  of  the  moon  enough  to  dis- 
close the  small  eminences  and  cavities  which  may 
be  situated  near  the  edge  of  her  disc.1 

Like  all  subsequent  observers  up  to  the  close 
of  the  eighteenth  century,  Galileo  is  said  to  have 
believed  in  the  existence  of  lunar  seas  and  of  a 
lunar  atmosphere ;  while  on  the  question  of  the 
existence  of  lunar  inhabitants  he  is  supposed  to 
have  kept  an  open  mind.2  His  belief  in  a  lunar 
atmosphere  may  be  conceded,  but  as  regards  the 

1  See  p.  88  ante.    Also  Grant's  "  History  of  Physical  Astronomy," 
PP-  347-52.    In  one  of  the  frescoes  in  the  Borghese  chapel  in  S.  Maria 
Maggiore,  Rome  (the  Virgin  with  the  moon  under  foot),  by  Cigoli,  the 
friend  and  correspondent  of  Galileo,  the  hills  and  valleys  of  the  moon 
are  painted  as  the  telescopes  of  the  day  (1612)  revealed  them. 

2  As  regards  the  habitation  of  the  planets,  however,  he  was  dis- 
creetly silent.    In  a  letter  to  Prince  Cesi,  25th  January  1613,  he  says  : 
"  If  the  question  be  put  to  me  I  will  answer  neither  yes  nor  no."    He 
also  refers  to  tr^e  subject  in  the  same  indeterminate  way  in  his  letters 
on  Sun-spots  and  in  the  Dialogues  of  1632. 

i6ia]         MOON     NOT     HABITABLE  135 

other  points  the  very  reverse  is  the  fact,  as  the 
following  letter  shows.  Writing  to  Giacomo  Muti 
from  Rome,  on  2  8th  February  1616,  Galileo 
says  : — 

"A  few  days  ago,  when  paying  my  respects  to 
the  illustrious  Cardinal  Muti,  a  discussion  arose  on 
the  inequalities  of  the  moon's  surface.  Signor 
Alessandro  Capoano,  in  order  to  disprove  the 
fact,  argued  that  if  the  lunar  superfecies  be  unequal 
and  mountainous,  one  may  say  as  a  consequence 
that,  since  Nature  has  made  our  earth  mountainous 
for  the  benefit  of  plants  and  animals  beneficial  to 
man,  so  on  the  moon  there  must  be  other  plants 
and  other  animals  beneficial  to  other  intellectual 
creatures.  Such  a  consequence,  he  said,  being 
most  false,  therefore  the  fact  from  which  it  is 
drawn  must  also  be  false,  therefore  lunar  mountains 
do  not  exist ! l  To  this  I  replied  :  As  to  the  in- 
equalities of  the  moon's  surface  we  have  only  to 
look  through  a  telescope  to  be  convinced  of  their 
existence ;  as  to  the  €  consequences/  I  said,  they 
are  not  only  not  necessary,  but  absolutely  false 
and  impossible,  for  I  was  in  a  position  to  prove 
that  neither  men,  nor  animals,  nor  plants  as  on 
this  earth,  nor  anything  at  all  like  them  can  exist 
on  the  moon.  I  said  then,  and  I  say  now,  that  I 
do  not  believe  that  the  body  of  the  moon  is 
composed  of  earth  and  water,  and  wanting  these 
two  elements  we  must  necessarily  conclude  that  it 
wants  all  the  other  things  which  without  these 
elements  cannot  exist  or  subsist  I  added  further  : 
even  allowing  that  the  matter  of  the  moon  may  be 
like  that  of  the  easfh  (a  most  improbable 
supposition),  still  not  one  of  those  things  which 

1  The  work  of  the  peripatetic  philosopher  Lagalla  ("De  Phoeno* 
menis  in  Orbe  Lunae,"  Bologna,  1612),  enforcing  the  same  arguments, 
is  reprinted  in  the  later  editions  of  Galileo's  works,  with  his  marginal 

136         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

the  earth  produces  can  exist  on  the  moon,  since 
to  their  production  other  things  besides  earth 
and  water  are  necessary — namely,  the  sun — the 
greatest  agent  in  Nature  —  and  the  resulting 
vicissitudes  of  heat  and  cold,  and  of  day  and  night. 
Now,  such  vicissitudes  are  on  the  moon  very 
different  from  those  on  the  earth.  In  the  latter 
case,  to  produce  a  diversity  of  seasons,  the  sun 
rises  and  falls  more  than  47°  (in  passing  from 
one  tropic  to  the  other);  in  the  former  case  the 
variation  is  only  5°  on  each  side  of  the  ecliptic. 
While,  therefore,  on  the  earth  the  sun  in  every 
24  hours  illuminates  all  parts  of  its  surface,  each 
half  of  the  moon  is  alternately  in  sunshine  and 
darkness  for  15  continuous  days  of  24  hours. 
Now,  if  our  plants  and  animals  were  exposed  to 
ardent  sunshine  every  month  for  360  consecutive 
hours,  and  then  for  a  similar  time  were  plunged 
in  cold  and  darkness,  they  could  not  possibly 
preserve  themselves,  much  less  produce  and 
multiply.  We  must,  therefore,  conclude  that  what 
would  be  impossible  on  our  earth  under  the  circum- 
stances we  have  supposed  to  exist,  must  be  impossible 
on  the  moon  where  those  conditions  do  exist." 

No  sooner  were  these  questions  of  sun-spots 
and  lunar  mountains  out  of  hand  than  Galileo 
became  engaged  in  another  protracted  discussion, 
which  resulted  in  another  famous  treatise,  pub- 
lished in  Florence  in  1612.  This  is  his  "  Discourse 
on  Floating  Bodies,"  in  which  he  uses  the  principle 
of  virtual  velocities  from  which  modern  geometers, 
and  especially  Lagrange,  have  drawn  largely,  and 
by  the  aid  of  which  he  demonstrates  the  more 
important  theorems  of  hydrostatics.1 

1  This  important  principle  was  first  announced  in  his  treatise  on 
Mechanics,  written  in  1594.    See  p.  37  ante. 

1612]  FLOATING    BODIES  137 

The  question  of  floating  bodies  had  been  dis- 
cussed at  one  of  the  scientific  parties  which  the 
Grand  Duke  liked  to  assemble  round  him,  and  the 
general  opinion  appearing  to  be  that  of  Aristotle, 
that  the  floating  or  sinking  of  a  body  depended 
principally  upon  its  shape,  Galileo  undertook  to 
show  its  untenableness.  Some  one  in  the  company 
asserted  that  condensation  is  the  effect  of*  cold,  and 
ice  was  mentioned  as  an  instance.  Galileo  retorted 
that  ice  is  rather  water  rarefied  than  water  con- 
densed, the  proof  of  which  is  that  it  always  floats 
upon  water.  His  opponents  rejoined  that  this 
phenomenon  was  due,  not  to  the  lightness  of  the 
ice,  but  to  its  incapacity,  owing  to  its  flat  shape, 
to  overcome  the  resistance  which  the  water  opposed 
to  its  sinking.  Galileo  denied  this,  and  asserted 
that  ice  of  any  shape  would  float  upon  water,  and 
that  if  a  flat  piece  of  ice  were  forced  to  the  bottom 
it  would,  when  left  to  itself,  rise  again  to  the 

The  general  character  of  this  remarkable  Dis- 
course will  be  understood  from  the  following 
passages : — 

"The  diversity  of  figure  given  to  any  solid 
cannot  be  the  cause  of  its  floating  or  sinking  in 
water ;  so  that  if  a  solid  made,  for  instance,  into 
a  sphere  sinks  or  floats,  it  will  likewise  sink  or 
float  when  made  into  any  other  form.  The  breadth 
of  the  figure  may  indeed  retard  its  velocity  as  well 
of  ascent  as  of  descent,  and  more  and  more  in 
proportion  to  the  breadth  and  thinness  of  the  said 

1  Cardinals  Gonzaga  and  Maffeo  Barberini  (afterwards  Pope 
Urban  VIII.)  were  among  the  guests,  and  the  latter  took  Galileo's 
side  in  the  discussion  against  the  peripatetics  led  by  Gonzaga. 

138          RETURNS     TO     FLORENCE       [1610- 

figure ;  but  that  it  can  be  reduced  to  such  a  form 
as  to  put  an  end  to  its  motion  I  hold  to  be  im- 
possible. In  this  I  have  met  with  opponents  who, 
pointing  to  some  experiments,  and,  in  particular, 
taking  a  thin  board  of  ebony  and  a  ball  of  the 
same  wood,  and  showing  that  the  latter  sinks,  while 
the  former,  if  placed  lightly  on  the  surface,  floats, 
hold  by  the  opinion  of  Aristotle  that  the  cause 
of  flotation  is  the  breadth  of  the  figure,  which 
renders  it  unable  to  overcome  the  resistance  of 
the  water  to  penetration  ;  whereas  in  the  case  of 
the  ball  its  form  enables  it  to  overcome  this  re- 
sistance, and  it  readily  sinks.  I  assert,  on  the 
contrary,  that  there  is  not  any  solid  of  such  light- 
ness or  of  such  a  figure  that,  being  placed  on  the 
water,  will  not  divide  and  penetrate  it ;  and  if 
you  examine  carefully  your  thin  boards  of  wood 
you  will  see  that  they  have  part  of  their  thickness 
under  water ;  and,  moreover,  you  will  see  that 
shavings  of  ebony,  stone,  and  metal,  when  they 
float,  have  not  only  broken  the  continuity  of  the 
water,  but  are  with  all  their  thickness  under  the 
surface,  and  this  more  and  more  according  to  their 
specific  gravity;  so  that  a  thin  plate  of  lead  will 
be  lower  than  the  surface  of  the  surrounding  water 
by  at  least  twelve  times  the  thickness  of  the  plate, 
and  a  gold  plate  will  dive  below  the  level  almost 
twenty  times  its  thickness/' 

In  order  to  show  more  clearly  the  non-resistance 
of  water  to  penetration,  Galileo  then  directs  a  cone 
to  be  made  of  wood  or  wax,  and  asserts  that  when 
it  floats,  either  with  its  base  or  its  apex  in  the 
water,  the  solid  content  of  the  part  immersed  will 
be  the  same,  although  the  apex  is  (by  reason  of 
its  shape)  better  adapted  to  overcome  the  resist- 
ance of  the  water  to  division.  The  shape,  then, 

i6i2]  FLOATING    BODIES  139 

cannot  be  the  cause  of  the  buoyancy.  Or  the 
experiment  may  be  varied  by  mixing  the  wax  with 
lead  filings  till  the  compound  sinks  in  water,  when 
it  will  be  found  that  in  any  shape  the  same  weight 
of  cork  must  be  added  before  it  will  rise  to  the 
surface.  He  goes  on  : — 

"  This  silences  not  my  antagonists,  who  say  that 
my  experiments  import  little  to  them,  and  that  it 
is  enough  for  them  to  have  demonstrated  in  one 
instance,  and  in  such  manner  as  pleases  them  best, 
that  an  ebony  ball  when  put  into  water  sinks  to 
the  bottom,  while  an  ebony  board  stays  to  swim 
at  the  top,  and  the  matter  being  the  same,  and 
the  two  bodies  differing  in  nothing  but  in  figure, 
they  affirm  that  with  all  perspicuity  they  have 
demonstrated  and  sensibly  manifested  what  they 
undertook.  Nevertheless,  I  believe  and  think  I 
can  prove  that  this  very  experiment  proves  nothing 
against  my  theory.  And  first,  it  is  false  that  the  ball 
sinks  and  that  the  board  does  not;  for  the  board 
will  sink  too,  if  you  do  to  both  as  the  words  of 
our  question  require  ;  that  is,  if  you  put  them  both 
in  the  water ;  for  to  be  in  the  water  implies  to  be 
placed  in  the  water;  and,  by  Aristotle's  own 
definition  of  place,  to  be  placed  imports  to  be 
environed  by  the  surface  of  the  ambient  body. 
But  when  my  antagonists  show  the  floating  board 
of  ebony  they  put  it  not  into  the  water,  but  upon 
the  water,  where,  being  detained  by  a  certain 
impediment  (of  which  more  anon),  it  is  surrounded 
partly  by  water,  partly  by  air,  which  is  contrary 
to  our  agreement,  for  that  was  that  the  bodies 
should  be  in  the  water,  and  not  part  in  the  water, 
part  in  the  air.  I  will  not  omit  another  reason, 
founded  upon  experience,  and,  if  I  deceive  not 
myself,  conclusive  against  the  notion  that  figure 
and  the  resistance  of  the  water  to  penetration  have 

140         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

anything  to  do  with  the  buoyancy  of  bodies. 
Choose  a  piece  of  wood  or  other  matter,  as  for 
instance  walnut-wood,  a  ball  of  which  rises  from 
the  bottom  of  the  water  to  the  surface  more  slowly 
than  a  ball  of  ebony  of  the  same  size  sinks,  so 
that  clearly  the  ball  of  ebony  divides  the  water 
more  readily  in  sinking  than  does  the  walnut  in 
rising.  Then,  take  a  board  of  walnut-wood  equal 
to  and  like  the  floating  ebony  of  one  of  my  anta- 
gonists, and  if  it  be  true  that  this  latter  floats  by 
reason  of  the  figure  being  unable  to  penetrate  the 
water,  the  other  of  walnut- wood,  without  all  question, 
if  thrust  to  the  bottom  ought  to  stay  there,  as 
having  the  same  impeding  figure,  and  in  conse- 
quence unable  to  overcome  the  said  resistance  of 
the  water.  But  if  we  find  by  experience  that  not 
only  the  thin  board,  but  every  other  figure  of  the 
same  walnut-wood,  will  return  to  float,  as  un- 
questionably we  shall,  then  I  must  desire  my 
opponents  to  forbear  to  attribute  the  floating  of 
the  ebony  to  the  figure  of  the  board,  since  the 
resistance  of  the  water  is  the  same  in  rising  as  in 
sinking,  and  the  force  of  ascension  of  the  walnut- 
wood  is  less  than  the  ebony's  force  for  going  to 
the  bottom. 

c<  Now,  let  us  return  to  the  thin  plate  of  gold  or 
silver,  or  the  thin  board  of  ebony,  and  let  us  lay  it 
lightly  upon  the  water,  so  that  it  may  stay  there 
without  sinking,  and  carefully  observe  the  effect. 
It  will  appear  clearly  that  the  board  or  plate  is 
lower  than  the  surface  of  the  water,  which  rises  up 
and  makes  a  kind  of  rampart  round  it  on  every  side. 
But  if  it  have  already  penetrated  and  overcome  the 
continuity  of  the  water,  and  is  of  its  own  nature 
heavier  than  the  water,  why  does  it  not  continue 
to  sink,  but  stop  and  suspend  itself  in  that  little 
dimple  that  its  weight  has  made  in  the  water  ?  My 
answer  is,  because  in  sinking  till  its  surface  is  below 

x6i2]  FLOATING    BODIES  141 

the  water,  which  rises  up  in  a  bank  round  it,  it  draws 
after  and  carries  along  with  it  the  air  above  it,  so 
that  that  which  descends  is  not  only  the  board  of 
ebony  (or  metal  plate),  but  a  compound  of  ebony 
and  air,  from  which  composition  results  a  body  no 
longer  specifically  heavier  than  the  water,  as  was 
the  ebony  or  metal  alone.  But,  gentlemen,  we 
want  the  same  matter;  you  are  to  alter  nothing 
but  the  shape,  and  therefore  have  the  goodness  to 
remove  this  air.  This  may  be  done  simply  by 
washing  the  upper  surface  of  the  board,  for  the 
water  having  once  got  between  the  board  and  the 
air  will  run  together,  and  the  ebony  will  sink  to 
the  bottom ;  and  if  it  does  not,  you  have  won  the 
day.  But  methinks  I  hear  some  of  my  antagonists 
cunningly  opposing  this,  and  telling  me  that  they 
will  not  on  any  account  allow  their  board  to  be 
wetted,  because  the  weight  of  the  water  so  added, 
by  making  it  heavier  than  it  was  before,  forces  it 
to  the  bottom,  and  that  the  addition  of  new  weight 
is  contrary  to  our  agreement. 

"To  this  I  answer  first,  that  nobody  can 
suppose  bodies  to  be  put  into  water  without  wetting 
them,  nor  do  I  wish  to  do  more  to  the  board 
than  you  do  to  the  ball.  Moreover,  it  is  not  true 
that  the  board  sinks  on  account  of  the  weight  of 
the  water  added  in  the  washing ;  for  I  will  put  ten 
or  twenty  drops  on  the  floating  board,  and  so  long 
as  they  stand  separate  it  shall  not  sink  ;  but  if  the 
board  be  taken  out,  and  all  that  water  wiped  off, 
and  the  whole  surface  be  bathed  with  a  single  drop, 
and  be  again  put  upon  the  water,  there  is  no 
question  but  it  will  sink,  water  running  to  cover  it, 
being  no  longer  hindered  by  the  air.  In  the  next 
place,  it  is  altogether  false  that  water  can  in  any  way 
increase  the  weight  of  bodies  immersed  in  it,  for 
water  has  no  weight  in  water,  since  it  does  not  sink. 
Now,  just  as  he  who  should  say  that  brass  by  its 

142         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

own  nature  sinks,  but  that  when  formed  into  a 
kettle  it  acquires  from  that  figure  a  virtue  of  lying 
in  the  water  without  sinking,  would  say  what  is 
false,  because  that  is  not  purely  brass  which  then  is 
put  into  the  water,  but  a  compound  of  brass  and 
air ;  so  is  it  neither  more  nor  less  false  that  a  thin 
plate  of  brass  or  ebony  swims  by  virtue  of  its  dilated 
and  broad  figure. 

"  Some  may  wonder  that  I  affirm  this  power  to 
be  in  the  air  of  keeping  a  board  or  metal  plate  from 
sinking,  as  if  in  a  certain  sense  I  would  attribute 
to  the  air  a  kind  of  magnetic  virtue  for  sustaining 
heavy  bodies  with  which  it  is  in  contact.  To  satisfy 
all  these  doubts,  I  have  contrived  the  following 
experiment  to  demonstrate  how  truly  the  air  does 
support  these  solids ;  for  I  have  found,  when  one  of 
these  bodies  (which  floats  when  placed  lightly  on 
the  water)  is  thoroughly  bathed  and  sunk  to  the 
bottom,  that,  by  carrying  down  to  it  a  little  air, 
without  otherwise  touching  it  in  the  least,  I  am  able 
to  raise  and  carry  it  back  to  the  top,  where  it  floats 
as  before.  To  this  effect  I  take  a  ball  of  wax,  and 
with  a  little  lead  make  it  just  heavy  enough  to  sink 
very  slowly  to  the  bottom,  taking  care  that  its 
surface  be  quite  smooth  and  even.  This,  if  put 
gently  into  the  water,  submerges  almost  entirely,  there 
remaining  outside  only  a  very  little  of  the  top,  and, 
so  long  as  it  is  thus  joined  to  the  air,  the  ball  floats  ; 
but  if  we  take  away  the  air,  by  wetting  this  top,  the 
ball  sinks  to  the  bottom,  and  remains  there.  Now 
to  make  it  return  to  the  surface  by  virtue  of  the  air 
which  before  sustained  it,  thrust  into  the  water 
a  glass,  with  the  mouth  downwards,  which  will 
carry  with  it  the  air  it  contains ;  move  this  down- 
wards towards  the  ball,  until  you  see  that  the  air 
has  reached  the  top  of  it ;  then  gently  draw  the 
glass  upwards  and  you  will  see  the  ball  rise,  and 
afterwards  stay  on  the  top  of  the  water,  if  you 

1612]  FLOATING    BODIES  143 

carefully  withdraw  the  glass  without  too  much 
disturbing  the  water.  There  is  therefore  a  certain 
affinity  between  the  air  and  other  bodies,  which 
holds  them  united,  so  that  they  separate  not  without 
a  kind  of  violence,  just  as  between  water  and  other 
bodies  ;  for  in  drawing  such  bodies  wholly  out  of 
the  water,  we  see  it  follow  them,  and  rise  sen- 
sibly above  the  level  before  it  quits  them/' 

His  opponents  were  in  hopeless  confusion 
between  the  phenomena  of  hydrostatic  pressure, 
which  they  professed  to  be  discussing,  and  those  of 
capillary  action  which  they  quoted  against  Galileo. 
With  his  careful  observations  to  support  him, 
Galileo  would  have  carried  conviction  more  readily 
had  he  emphasised  the  distinction  between  the  two 
questions,  and  realised  himself  that  the  floating 
plate  of  metal  indicated  a  natural  property  of 
liquids  which  deserved  special  investigation. 

Having  established  his  theory  of  buoyancy  by 
these  ingenious  experiments,  Galileo  proceeds  to 
show  what  must  be  the  dimensions  of  a  plate  of 
any  substance  which  will  float  as  the  wax  does, 
assuming  in  each  case  that  we  know  the  greatest 
height  at  which  the  rampart  of  water  will  stand 
round  it  In  like  manner  he  shows  that  a 
pyramidal  or  conical  figure  may  be  made  of  any 
substance  in  such  a  way  that,  by  the  help  of  the 
air,  it  shall  rest  upon  the  water  without  wetting 
more  than  its  base ;  and,  furthermore,  that  we 
may  form  a  cone  of  any  substance  so  that  it  shall 
float  (partially  submerged)  if  placed  gently  on  the 
surface  with  its  point  downwards,  whereas  no  care  or 
pains  will  enable  it  to  do  so  with  its  base  down- 

144         RETURNS    TO    FLORENCE       [1610- 

wards,  owing  to  the  different  proportions  of  air  which 
in  the  two  positions  are  in  contact  with  the  water.1 

As  may  be  gathered  from  the  foregoing  ex- 
cerpts, the  book  contains  many  ingenious  experi- 
ments and  much  acute  reasoning  in  support  of 
the  true  principles  of  hydrostatics.  Like  all  his 
other  works  it  encountered  violent  opposition,  and 
Galileo  had,  more  than  once,  to  enter  the  field  to 
repel  the  counter  "  arguments "  of  his  opponents. 
The  first  published  attack  was  by  Giorgio  Coresio, 
a  professor  in  Pisa,  under  the  form  of  a  letter  to 
the  Archbishop  of  Florence.  The  reply  to  this  was 
entrusted  to  Galileo's  valiant  disciple  and  champion, 
Benedetto  Castelli.  The  manuscript  was  submitted 
to  the  Master  and  revised  by  him,  and  was  about  to 
be  published  when  Coresio  was  dismissed  (on  its 
leaking  out  that  though  professedly  a  Catholic  he 
really  belonged  to  the  Greek  Church),  and  died  soon 
after.  Thereupon,  the  work  was  laid  aside,  on  the 
principle  de  mortuis  nil  nisi  bonum.  A  second  attack 
was  published  anonymously,  but  was  well  known  to 
be  the  work  of  Arturo  d'Elci,  head  of  the  University 
of  Pisa,  the  same  who,  as  we  shall  presently  see, 
forbade  any  allusions  in  lectures  to  the  astronomical 
discoveries  of  Galileo.  To  this  Galileo  replied  in  a 
long  letter,  dated  4th  January  1613,  and  addressed 
to  Tolomeo  Nozzolini.2  More  elaborate  attacks 
were  next  published  by  Lodovico  delle  Colombe 

1  Galileo  took  advantage  of  a  second  edition  of  this  publication  to 
record  briefly  his  latest  observations  on  Venus,  on  Jupiter's  moons,  and 
on  the  Sun-spots,  all  of  which  were,  until  then,  only  known  to  his  friends 
and  correspondents.    This  edition  appeared  in  August,  two  months 
after  the  first. 

2  Nozzolini  had  previously  defended  Galileo's  views  against  the 
attacks  of  d'Elci  and  Coresio  in  a  letter  (22nd  September)  to  Mgr, 
Marzimedici.  Archbishop  of  Florence. 

x6ia]  CONTROVERSY  145 

and  Vincenzio  di  Grazia.  To  these  a  detailed 
and  overwhelming  answer  was  printed  in  the  name 
of  Benedetto  Castelli.  After  pulverising  all  the 
"  arguments J>  of  his  opponents,  the  writer  taunt- 
ingly bids  them  remember  that  he  was  merely 
Galileo's  pupil,  and  thence  to  conclude  how  much 
more  effectually  Galileo  himself  would  have  con- 
futed them  had  he  thought  it  worth  his  while.1 

It  was  in  reference  to  this  controversy  that 
Galileo  declared  that  ignorance  had  been  the  best 
master  he  ever  had,  since,  in  order  to  be  able  to 
demonstrate  to  his  adversaries  the  truth  of  his 
conclusions,  he  had  been  forced  to  prove  them 
by  such  a  variety  of  experiments  as  made  him- 
self doubly  confident ;  though  to  satisfy  his  own 
mind  alone  he  had  never  felt  it  necessary  to 
make  many. 

1  It  was  not  generally  known  till  several  years  after  Galileo's  death, 
that  Castelli's  essay  was  in  fact  written  by  the  Master  himself.  It 
is  entitled  "Risposta  alle  Opposizioni  del  Colombe  e  del  Grazia," 
Florence,  1615. 






THE  uncompromising  boldness  with  which  Galileo 
published  and  supported  his  opinions  had,  as  we 
have  seen  so  often,  raised  against  him  a  host  of 
enemies,  who  each  had  objections  peculiar  to  him- 
self, but  who  now  began  to  perceive  the  policy  of 
uniting  their  strength  in  the  common  cause  to 
crush,  if  possible,  so  strange  an  innovator.  The 
Aristotelian  professors,  the  Jesuits,  the  political 
churchmen,  and  those  timid  but  respectable  persons 
who  at  all  times  dread  innovation,  whether  it  be 
in  religion  or  in  science,  all  were  drawn  together 
against  the  philosophical  tyrant  who  threatened 
them  with  the  penalties  of  too  much  knowledge. 

The  party  of  Galileo  though  weak  in  numbers 
was  not  without  power  and  influence.  He  had 
trained  around  him  a  devoted  band  who  idolised 
his  genius,  and  disseminated  his  views,  for  many 
of  his  favourite  pupils  were  now  professors  in  the 
leading  schools  of  Italy. 

No  longer  able  to  combat  Galileo's  hard  facts 
and  powerful  arguments  by  asserting  that  the 
facts  were  faults  in  his  glasses  and  instruments 

i6i2-i6i7]   CRUSADE  AGAINST  GALILEO     147 

devilishly  designed,  and  that  his  arguments  were 
vain-glorious  and  "scientifically"  absurd,  his  op- 
ponents now  took  their  stand  on  theology,  and 
raised  the  cry  of  the  Church  in  danger.  On  the 
simple  ground  that  his  astronomical  doctrines  were 
incompatible  with  Scripture,  a  great  din  was  raised 
and  began  to  make  itself  heard,  especially  in 
Florence,  early  in  the  year  1612. 

With  the  first  mutterings  of  the  storm  in  his 
ears,  Galileo  wrote  thus  to  Prince  Cesi  on  I2th 
May  in  that  year: — 

"  I  suspect  that  this  new  discovery  [the  Sun- 
Spots]  will  be  the  signal  for  the  funeral,  or  rather 
for  the  last  judgment  of  the  pseudo-philosophy — 
the  funereal  signals  having  already  been  shown 
in  the  moon,  the  Medicean  stars,  Saturn,  and 
Venus.  And  I  expect  now  to  see  the  peripatetics 
put  forth  some  grand  effort  to  maintain  the  im- 
mutability of  the  heavens!" 

True  to  her  original  attitude  of  hostility, 
Galileo's  Alma  Mater,  Pisa,  was  consistent  and 
persistent  in  her  opposition  to  his  teachings. 
Thus,  Father  Castelli,  who  in  October  1613,  was 
called  to  the  Mathematical  Chair  in  that  Uni- 
versity, told  Galileo  (6th  November  1613)  that 
he  was  forbidden  to  treat  in  his  lectures  of  the 
double  motion  of  the  earth,  or  even  to  hint  at  its 
probability !  "  Of  our  controversies,"  he  goes  on 
to  say,  "not  a  word  whatever,  a  thing  which 
astonishes  me.  Your  marvellous  discoveries  are 
scarcely  known  here  even  by  name!" 

Notwithstanding  all  this  commotion  in  the 
schools  and  amongst  the  minor  churchmen,  the 

148  GATHERING    STORMS  [1612- 

authorities  at  Rome  had  not  yet  taken  the  alarm. 
On  the  contrary,  we  find  the  Cardinals  Maffeo 
Barberini  (afterwards  Pope  Urban  VIII.)  and 
Federigo  Borromeo  thanking  Galileo  for  sending 
them  his  book  on  the  Sun-Spots,  and  express- 
ing their  admiration  for  his  researches  as  described 
therein.  Similarly,  Battista  Agucchia,  one  of  the 
principal  officials  of  the  Papal  Court,  writing  8th 
June  1613,  expressed  his  belief  that  Galileo's  teach- 
ings would  in  time  be  universally  acknowledged. 

"  Although  now  they  had  many  opponents, 
partly  from  their  novelty  and  extraordinary  char- 
acter, and  partly  from  the  envy  and  obstinacy  of 
those  who  had  from  the  first  maintained  the  con- 
trary opinion." 

But  amongst  his  other  friends  (not  in  Rome) 
there  was  at  least  one  more  discriminating,  one 
who  knew  better  the  men  and  their  spirit — Fra 
Paolo  Sarpi  of  Venice.  This  old  and  faithful 
friend  did  not  share  this  confidence  in  the  triumph 
of  truth — "  I  foresee,"  said  he,  "  that  the  ecclesiastical 
authorities  will  change  a  question  of  physics  and 
astronomy  into  one  of  theology,  and  that  to  my 
great  grief  Galileo,  if  he  wants  to  live  in  peace  and 
escape  the  charge  of  heresy,  will  have  to  recant." 
"  The  day  will  come,"  he  continues,  "when  men  of 
science  will  have  to  deplore  the  disgrace  of  Galileo." 
Prophetic  words,  as  the  sequel  will  show.1 

An  accidental  circumstance  was  the  spark  which 
fired  the  train.  One  day  in  December  1613, 

1  Griselini,  "  Del  Genio  di  Paolo  Sarpi,"  Venice,  1785,  vol.  ii.  p.  70. 
Professor  Favaro,  however,  doubts  their  authenticity,  and  questions 
Griselini's  authority. 

1617]          LETTER    TO    CASTELLI  149 

Castelli  and  other  learned  men  were  guests  at 
the  Grand  Duke's  table  at  Pisa,  where,  as  usual, 
the  Tuscan  Court  was  wintering.  The  conversa- 
tion turning  on  the  "  satellites  of  Jupiter,'1  Castelli 
took  the  opportunity  of  extolling  and  expatiating 
on  his  master's  discoveries,  One  of  the  guests, 
Boscaglia,  Professor  of  Physics  at  the  University, 
and  a  peripatetic  of  the  purest  water,  managed  to 
excite  the  religious  scruples  of  Cristina,  Dowager 
Grand  Duchess,  by  telling  her  that  all  Galileo's 
telescopic  discoveries  were  true,  only  the  deduction 
from  them  of  the  double  motion  of  the  earth  must 
be  wrong,  as  the  Holy  Scriptures  were  clearly 
opposed  to  such  a  doctrine.  Castelli,  who  had 
left  the  apartment,  was  recalled  to  answer  this 
objection.  At  first  he  deprecated  bringing  the 
Bible  into  the  controversy,  but  as  this  was  un* 
availing,  he  resolutely  took  the  theological  stand- 
point, and  defended  the  new  views  of  the  universe 
so  well,  that  many  of  those  present  took  his  side — 
the  Dowager  Duchess  standing  alone,  and  Boscaglia 
taking  no  part.  Castelli  hastened  to  apprise 
Galileo  of  this  incident,  and  added  that  it  appeared 
to  him  that  the  Grand  Duchess  had  merely  per- 
sisted in  opposition,  in  order  to  draw  him  out. 
— (Letter  of  i4th  December  1613.) 

This,  then,  was  the  provocation  to  Galileo's 
famous  letter  of  2ist  December  1613  to  Castelli, 
in  which  for  the  first  time  he  engages  in  theological 
discussions,  and  which,  although  not  intended  for 
publication,  was  to  be  turned  to  account  by  his 
enemies,  and  to  form  the  groundwork  of  his 
subsequent  trial.  The  letter  is  too  long  to  quote 

150  GATHERING    STORMS  [1612- 

in  full,  but  the  following  passages  will  show  the 
line  of  argument  pursued.1  He  begins  by  showing 
that  there  is  as  much  difficulty  in  reconciling  the 
Ptolemaic  as  the  Copernican  system  of  the  world 
with  the  astronomical  expressions  contained  in  the 
Scriptures,  and  asserts  that  (the  object  of  Scripture 
not  being  to  teach  astronomy)  such  expressions 
are  there  used  as  would  be  intelligible  to  the  vulgar, 
and  without  regard  to  the  true  structure  of  the 
universe.2  He  then  goes  on:  — 

"As  the  Bible,  although  dictated  by  the  Holy 
Spirit,  admits  (for  the  reasons  given  above)  in 
many  passages  of  an  interpretation  other  than 
the  literal  one,  and  as,  moreover,  we  cannot  maintain 
with  certainty  that  all  interpreters  are  inspired  by 
God,  I  think  it  would  be  the  part  of  wisdom  not  to 
allow  any  one  to  apply  passages  of  Scripture  in  such 
a  way  as  to  force  them  to  support  as  true  any 
conclusions  concerning  nature,  the  contrary  of 
which  may  afterwards  be  revealed  by  the  evidence 
of  our  senses,  or  by  actual  demonstration.  Who 
will  set  bounds  to  man's  understanding  ?  Who  can 
assure  us  that  every  thing  that  can  be  known  in  the 
world  is  known  already?  ...  I  am  inclined  to 
think  that  Holy  Scripture  is  intended  to  convince 

1  This  letter,  with  the  one  from  Castelli  which  called  it  forth,  is 
given  in  full  in  "Private  Life  of  Galileo,"  London,  1870,  pp.  73-7. 

2  When  the  intrigues  against  Galileo  began  in,  Florence  1611-12, 
he  consulted  Cardinal  Conti  as   to  how    far  the  Scriptures  were 
favourable  to  the  Aristotelian  constitution    of  the    world.      Conti 
replied,  7th  July  1612,  that  the  Scriptures  were  rather  contrary  than 
favourable  to  the  peripatetic  doctrine  of  the  incorruptibility  of  the 
heavens  ;  but  he  was  not  so  sure  on  the  question  of  the  motion  of  the 
earth.    He  thought  that  this  opinion  could  not  be  reconciled  with 
passages  in  Scripture  which  attributed  motion  to  the  sun  and  stars 
only,  except  on  the  assumption  that  the  Scriptures  employed  a  popular 
form  of  expression — a  form  understandable  by  the  vulgar,  but  which 
was  not  necessarily  and  rigorously  true  to  the  facts. 

x6i7]  LETTER     TO     CASTELLI  151 

men  of  those  truths  which  are  necessary  for  their 
salvation,  and  which  being  far  above  man's  under- 
standing cannot  be  made  credible  by  any  learning, 
or  by  any  other  means  than  revelation.  But  that 
the  same  God  who  has  endowed  us  with  senses, 
reason,  and  understanding,  does  not  permit  us  to 
use  them,  and  desires  to  acquaint  us  in  another  way 
with  such  knowledge  as  we  are  in  a  position  to 
acquire  for  ourselves  by  means  of  those  faculties — 
that,  it  seems  to  me  I  am  not  bound  to  believe, 
especially  concerning  those  sciences  about  which 
the  Holy  Scriptures  contain  only  small  fragments 
and  varying  explanations ;  and  this  is  precisely 
the  case  with  astronomy,  of  which  there  is  so  little 
that  the  planets  are  not  all  enumerated,  only  the 
sun  and  moon,  and  once  or  twice  Venus  under 
the  name  of  Lucifer.  This,  therefore,  being 
granted,  I  think  that  in  discussing  natural 
phenomena  we  ought  not  to  begin  with  texts 
from  Scripture,  but  with  experiment  and  de- 
monstration, for  from  the  Divine  Word  Scripture 
and  Nature  do  alike  proceed.  And  I  can  see  that 
that  which  experience  sets  before  our  eyes  con- 
cerning natural  effects,  or  which  demonstration 
proves  unto  us,  ought  not  upon  any  account  to 
be  called  in  question,  much  less  condemned,  upon 
the  testimony  of  Scriptural  texts,  which  may 
(under  their  mere  words)  have  meanings  of  a 
contrary  nature.  ..." 

The  letter  concludes  with  a  long  discussion  of 
Joshua's  miracle,  ending  in  a  reductio  ad  absurdum. 

Castelli,  seeing  nothing  objectionable  in  this 
letter,  gave  it  a  wide  circulation  in  written  copies. 
But  not  so  the  enemies  of  Galileo,  who  eagerly 
seized  it  as  a  weapon  to  be  used  against  him. 
They  turned  his  emphatic  opinion  that  the  Scrip- 

152  GATHERING    STORMS  [1612- 

tures  had  no  business  in  scientific  controversy 
into  the  reproach  that  he  assailed  the  universal 
authority  of  the  Bible,  and,  referring  to  his 
explanation  of  Joshua's  miracle,  they  loudly 
demanded  that  the  Scriptures  must  be  protected 
from  the  arbitrary  interpretations  of  profane  lay- 

After  some  months  of  underhand  agitation, 
Father  Caccini  of  the  Dominican  convent  of  San 
Marco  was  the  first  to  declare  war  openly,  in  a 
sermon  from  the  pulpit  of  Santa  Maria  Novella 
in  Florence.  Preaching  on  the  fourth  Sunday 
in  Advent  (December)  1614,  an<i  selecting  as  his 
texts  chap.  x.  vers.  12,  13,  of  Joshua,  and  chap.  i. 
ver.  n,  of  Acts,  he  began  with  the  words: 
11  Ye  men  of  Galilee !  why  stand  ye  gazing 
up  into  heaven  ?"  He  asserted  that  Galileo's 
doctrine  of  the  earth's  revolution  round  the 
sun  was  irreconcilable  with  the  holy  Catholic 
faith,  since  it  contradicted  several  passages  in 
Scripture.  He  reminded  his  hearers  that  no  one 
was  permitted  to  interpret  the  Bible  in  any  other 
sense  than  that  adopted  by  the  Fathers;  he  as 
good  as  denounced  Galileo's  teachings  as  heretical ; 
and  wound  up  with  a  coarse  attack  on  mathe- 
maticians in  general,  whose  science  he  called 
an  invention  of  the  devil,  and  who  should  be 
banished  from  all  Christian  states,  since  all 
heresies  proceeded  from  them.  A  preacher  at  the 
Puomo  (cathedral),  a  Jesuit  strange  to  say,  replied, 
and  undertook  to  show  that  Copernicus  was  right  ; 
that  Galileo  and  his  followers  were  good  Catholics  ; 
and  that  Caccini  and  the  Dominicans  generally  were 


ignorant  fools!  As  may  be  imagined,  this  line 
of  argument  added  fuel  to  the  fire,  and  the  result  was 
a  great  commotion  in  Florence.  This  fierce  attack 
made  Galileo  lose  patience ;  he  wished  to  publicly 
resent  the  insults,  but  on  the  advice  of  friends 
he  kept  quiet,  and  the  storm  subsided  for  a  while. 
The  man  who  first  brought  Galileo's  affairs 
before  the  Inquisition  (or  the  Holy  Office)  was 
one  Father  Lorini,  a  friend  of  Caccini  and  a 
member  of  the  same  convent  This  man  was 
Professor  of  Ecclesiastical  History  in  Florence, 
and  was  from  the  beginning  of  1612  a  ringleader 
of  all  the  local  intrigues  against  Galileo.  A  copy 
of  the  letter  to  Castelli  had  come  into  his 
hands,  and  this,  after  Caccini's  fierce  sermon,  he 
sent  to  the  Holy  Office  in  Rome  with  an  un- 
signed denunciation,  dated  5th  February  1615, 
and  addressed  to  Cardinal  Mellini,  President  of 
the  Congregation  of  the  Index.  This  document 
was  most  artfully  drawn  up ;  too  cowardly  to 
mention  Galileo  by  name,  as  he  knew  him  to 
have  friends  at  the  Vatican,  he  denounces  the 
Galileists  in  general,  "who  maintain  agreeably  to 
the  doctrine  of  this  man  Ipernic,  or  whatever 
they  call  him,  that  the  earth  moves  and  the 
heavens  stand  still."  "All  the  fathers,"  he  goes 
on,  "of  this  devout  convent  of  San  Marco  find 
many  passages  in  this  letter  which  are  suspicious 
and  presumptuous,  as  when  it  says  (i)  that  many 
expressions  of  Holy  Scripture  are  indefinite; 

(2)  that   in  discussions  about   natural   phenomena 
the    lowest    place    must    be    assigned    to    them ; 

(3)  that  the  commentators  have  often  been  mis- 

154  GATHERING    STORMS  [Mis- 

taken in  their  interpretations ;  (4)  that  the 
Scriptures  should  not  be  mixed  with  anything 
but  matters  of  religion  ;  (5)  that  in  nature  philo- 
sophical and  astronomical  evidence  is  of  more 
value  than  Holy  writ ;  arid  finally  (6)  that  when 
Joshua  commanded  the  sun  to  stand  still  we 
must  only  understand  that  the  command  was 
addressed  to  the  primum  mobile,  and  not  to  the 
sun  " ;  and  so  on,  and  so  on. 

In  consequence  of  this  denunciation  the  Holy 
Office  instituted  a  secret  enquiry.  As  Lorini  had 
only  sent  a  copy  of  the  letter  to  Castelli,  the 
Inquisition  took  steps  to  gain  possession  of  the 
original,  written  and  signed  by  Galileo,  and  wrote 
(26th  February  1615)  to  the  Archbishop  of  Pisa 
to  procure  the  document  "in  a  skilful  manner." 
But  in  this  they  were  foiled ;  Castelli  no  longer 
possessed  the  letter,  having  returned  it  to  Galileo, 
and  the  latter,  on  being  asked  for  it  again, 
supplied  only  a  copy,  unsigned  and  undated,  and 
which,  moreover,  he  strictly  enjoined  Castelli  not 
to  let  out  of  his  hands.  Castelli  accordingly  read 
the  letter  to  Archbishop  Bonciani  (in  presence  of 
several  canons  of  his  cathedral),  who  concealed 
as  well  as  he  could  his  annoyance  at  the  failure 
of  his  scheme.  So,  Cardinal  Mellini  had  to  be 
content  with  Lorini's  copy  of  the  incriminated 
letter,  which  was  submitted  to  the  Councillor  of 
the  Holy  Office  for  his  opinion.  His  report  was 
a  colourless  one :  some  passages  were  objectionable, 
but,  although  at  first  sight  they  looked  ill,  they 
were  capable  of  being  taken  in  a  good  sense, 
and  on  the  whole  the  document  was  not  of  that 


nature  that  it  could  be  said  to  deviate  from 
Catholic  doctrine. 

Meanwhile,  Caccini,  who  had  been  transferred  to 
Rome,  was  summoned  as  one  specially  well-informed 
about  Galileo's  teachings!  His  evidence  was  a 
repetition  of  his  sermon,  mixed  up  with  all  the 
tittle-tattle  of  Florence.  After  denouncing  Galileo 
and  his  works  as  Godless,  he  concluded,  "at  any 
rate  he  is  suspicious  in  religious  matters,  because 
he  belongs  to  a  certain  Accademia  dei  Lincei, 
and  corresponds  with  the  Godless  Fra  Paolo 
Sarpi  at  Venice,  and  with  many  Germans." 

Galileo  appears  to  have  known  nothing  ac- 
curately of  these  proceedings.  He  could  only 
learn  that  some  Dominican  monks  were  making 
use  of  his  letter  to  Castelli  in  order  to  effect 
the  condemnation  of  the  Copernican  doctrines. 
Fearing  that  the  copy  on  which  they  relied  at 
Rome  might  have  been  tampered  with,  he  sent  a 
correct  copy,  on  i6th  February  1615,  to  his  friend 
and  old  pupil,  Mgr.  Piero  Dini,  with  a  request  that 
he  would  forward  it  to  Father  Griemberger,  and 
perhaps  also  to  Cardinal  Bellarmine.  He  added 
that  he  had  written  to  Castelli  currente  calamo^ 
and  that  he  had  since  made  many  researches 
into  the  matters  therein  discussed,  which  he  was 
embodying  in  a  larger  treatise — a  copy  of  which 
when  finished  he  would  send.1  Mgr.  Dini  in 
reply,  and  apparently  as  the  result  of  a  con- 
ference with  Cardinals  del  Monte  and  Bellarmine, 
urged  Galileo  to  hurry  on  his  writing,  but  at  the 

1  This  was  his  celebrated  letter  or  Apology  addressed  to  the 
Grand  Duchess  Cristina. 

156  GATHERING    STORMS  [1612- 

same  time  advised  caution,  to  avoid  theology, 
and  to  confine  himself  to  mathematics  and  physics. 
" Write  freely,"  he  said,  "but  be  careful  to  keep 
outside  the  sacristy."  Mgr,  Ciampoli,  another 
(Florentine)  disciple  then  residing  in  Rome,  writ- 
ing 28th  February,  conveyed  the  assurance  of 
Cardinal  Maffeo  Barberini  that  he  had  Galileo's 
interests  at  heart,  and  that  it  would  be  more 
prudent  not  to  go  beyond  his  role  of  Professor 
of  Mathematics,  as  the  theologians  claimed  to 
have  the  sole  right  of  explaining  the  Scriptures. 
Prince  Cesi  gave  him  much  the  same  advice, 
and  added  his  belief  that  any  deliberate  formu- 
lation of  the,  Copernican  doctrine  would  only  end 
in  its  prohibition,  and  the  suppression  of  his  book. 
This  excellent  advice  unfortunately  came  too  late, 
for,  as  we  see,  the  Inquisition  was  already  moving ; 
and  even  if  Galileo  had  never  written  his  letter 
to  the  Grand  Duchess,  or  had  written  it  in  the 
way  suggested,  his  enemies  already  had  grounds 
enough  to  go  upon. 

Although  down  to  the  end  of  June  1615, 
Galileo  received  reassuring  letters  from  Rome, 
that  there  was  nothing  in  progress  at  which  he 
need  be  at  all  disconcerted,  yet,  so  well  did  the 
Inquisition  keep  its  secret,  it  was  all  the  time 
laying  its  plans  to  entrap  him.1 

Meanwhile,  about  the  middle  of  1615,  Galileo 

1  From  2oth  June  1615,  to  Galileo's  visit  to  Rome  in  the 
following  December,  but  two  letters  from  his  Roman  friends  are 
extant,  which,  considering  the  anxious  period  covered,  is  remarkable. 
Von  Gebler  thinks  it  probable  that  Galileo  destroyed  the  corre- 
spondence out  of  regard  for  his  friends.  "  Galileo  and  the  Roman 
Curia,"  London,  1879,  P»  64. 

x6i7]  LETTER   TO   GRAND  DUCHESS    157 

completed  his  great  apologetic  treatise  in  the  form 
of  a  letter  to  the  Dowager  Grand  Duchess  Cristina, 
in  which  he  defines  at  great  length  his  position  as 
a  natural  philosopher,  and  as  a  sincere  member  of 
the  Church  of  Rome.  It  is,  naturally,  an  amplifica- 
tion of  his  letter  to  Castelli  already  quoted,  and 
need  not,  therefore,  be  more  fully  noticed.1  The 
pith  of  it  is  contained  in  the  saying  of  Cardinal 
Baronius,  which  the  author  quotes  :  — 

"The  Holy  Spirit  intended  to  teach  us  in  the 
Bible  how  to  go  to  heaven,  not  how  the  heavens 

The  concluding  passages  may  be  quoted  as 
follows  :  — 

"  Again,  to  command  professors  of  astronomy 
that  they  must  themselves  see  to  confuting  their 
own  observations  and  demonstrations  is  to  ask 
the  impossible,  for  it  is  not  only  to  command 
them  not  to  see  what  they  do  see,  and  not  to 
understand  what  they  do  understand,  but  to  seek 
for  and  to  find  the  contrary.  I  would  entreat 
these  wise  and  prudent  Fathers  to  consider 
diligently  the  difference  between  opinionative 
and  demonstrative  doctrines,  to  the  end  that 
they  may  assure  themselves  that  it  is  not  in  the 
power  of  professors  of  demonstrative  sciences  to 
change  their  opinions  at  pleasure,  and  adopt  first 
one  side  and  then  the  other  ;  that  there  is  a  great 
difference  between  ordering  a  mathematician,  or  a 
philosopher,  as  to  what  opinion  to  hold,  and  doing 
the  same  with  a  merchant,  or  a  lawyer,  since 

1  Von  Gebler  gives  an  excellent  rlsunU^  at  pp.  64-70  of  "  Galileo 
and  the  Roman  Curia."  The  Apology  and  the  letter  to  Castelli  were 
not  published  until  after  the  trial  of  1633,  and  then  apparently  with  the 
object  of  showing  the  learned  world  how  unjust  his  condemnation  was. 

158  GATHERING     STORMS  [i6«- 

demonstrated  conclusions  touching  things  of  nature 
and  of  the  heavens  cannot  be  changed  with  the 
same  facility  as  opinions  touching  what  is  lawful, 
or  not,  in  a  contract,  bargain,  or  bill  of  ex- 

"  Therefore,  let  such  people  apply  themselves 
to  the  study  of  the  arguments  of  Copernicus  and 
others,  and  leave  the  condemning  of  them  as 
erroneous  and  heretical  to  whom  it  belongeth. 
Yet,  as  to  this  latter,  they  must  not  hope  to  find 
such  rash  and  precipitate  determinations  in  the 
wary  Holy  Fathers,  or  in  the  absolute  wisdom  of 
him  who  cannot  err  (the  Pope),  as  those  into 
which  they  suffer  themselves  to  be  hurried  by 
some  particular  affection  or  interest  of  their  own. 
In  these,  and  such  like  opinions  which  are  not 
directly  articles  of  faith,  certainly  no  man  doubts 
that  his  Holiness  hath  always  an  absolute  power 
of  admitting  or  condemning  them ;  but  it  is  not 
in  the  power  of  any  creature  to  make  them  to  be 
true  or  false,  otherwise  than  as,  in  fact,  they  are." 

This  letter,  notwithstanding  its  moderate  and 
even  deprecating  tone,  was,  of  course,  a  fresh 
weapon  against  him,  and  his  enemies  denounced 
him  more  noisily  than  ever.  Ominous  reports 
began  to  circulate,  but  still  Galileo  could  not  learn 
any  thing  more  definite  than  that  something  was 
brewing  against  him,  and  that  the  Copernican 
theory  would  probably  be  interdicted.  Thinking 
that  he  could  best  combat  these  intrigues  by 
going  to  Rome,  he  set  out  early  in  December 
1615,  provided  with  cofdial  letters  from  the  Grand 
Duke  to  his  Ambassador  Guicciardini,  to  Cardinals 
del  Monte  and  Orsini,  and  others.  His  enemies 
spread  about  that  this  step  did  not  originate  with 

1617]         THIRD    VISIT    TO    ROME  159 

himself,  but  was  the  result  of  a  direct  citation. 
This,  however,  is  abundantly  disproved  by  the 
Grand  Dukes  letters  in  which  he  distinctly  says 
that  Galileo  goes  to  Rome  of  his  own  accord 

His  reception  by  the  authorities  seemed  to  be 
cordial,  but  he  quickly  discovered  that  a  zealous 
agitation  was  going  on,  not  only  against  his  teach- 
ings but  against  himself.  However,  he  was  con- 
fident that  he  should  very  soon  destroy  the  traps 
of  his  enemies,  and  justify  himself  in  a  way  that 
would  bring  discredit  upon  themselves.  Judging 
from  a  letter  of  some  days  later,  23rd  January  1616, 
to  Secretary  Picchena,  he  had  not  found  his  defence 
so  easy  as  he  anticipated.  He  says  : — 

"My  business  is  far  more  difficult  and  takes 
much  longer,  owing  to  untoward  circumstances, 
than  the  nature  of  it  would  require.  I  cannot 
communicate  directly  with  those  persons  with  whom 
I  have  to  negotiate — partly  to  avoid  doing  injury 
to  any  of  my  friends,  and  partly  because  they  can- 
not communicate  anything  to  me  without  running 
the  risk  of  grave  censure.  So  I  am  compelled 
with  much  pains  and  caution  to  seek  out  third 
persons  who,  without  even  knowing  my  object, 
may  serve  as  mediators  with  the  principals.  .  .  . 
I  have  also  to  set  down  some  points  in  writing, 
and  to  cause  that  they  shall  come  privately  into 
the  hands  of  those  whom  I  wish  to  see  them." 

At  length  Galileo  succeeded,  as  he  thought, 
in  freeing  himself  personally  from  all  accusations 
and  in  refuting  the  slanders  of  Caccini  and  his 
confederates.  The  monk  paid  him  a  long  visit, 
humbly  begged  pardon  for  his  previous  conduct, 

160  GATHERING    STORMS  [1612- 

and  offered  any  satisfaction  in  his  power.  But 
Galileo  rightly  gauged  his  sincerity,  in  a  letter  to 
Picchena  of  aoth  February,  in  which  he  says  : — 

"  I  perceived  not  only  his  great  ignorance,  but 
that  he  has  a  mind  void  of  charity  and  full  of 

Lorini  excused  himself  in  a  still  more  contemptible 
manner.  He  coolly  admitted  that  he  knew  nothing 
and  wanted  to  know  nothing  of  the  merits  of  the 
controversy.  He  only  acted  "for  the  sake  of 
saying  something,  lest  men  should  think  that  the 
Dominican  Fathers  were  asleep  or  dead." 

But  by  adjusting  his  own  difficulties  Galileo 
had  performed  only  half  the  task  he  set  himself. 
The  grander  part  of  it,  viz.  the  preservation  of  the 
Copernican  doctrines  from  the  interdict  of  the 
Church,  had  yet  to  be  accomplished. 

"  My  business,  so  far  as  it  concerns  myself,  is 
completed.  All  the  exalted  personages  who  have 
been  conducting  it  have  told  me  so  plainly  and 
in  a  most  obliging  manner,  and  have  assured  me 
that  people  are  fully  convinced  of  my  uprightness 
and  honour,  and  of  the  devilish  malice  and  injustice 
of  my  persecutors.  As  far,  therefore,  as  this  matter 
is  concerned  I  might  return  home  without  delay ; 
but  there  is  a  question  connected  with  my  case, 
which  does  not  concern  myself  alone,  but  all  those 
who  during  the  last  eighty  years  have  advocated, 
in  printed  works  and  private  letters,  in  public 
lectures  and  private  conversations,  a  certain  theory 
not  unknown  to  your  Excellency,  on  which  they 
are  now  proposing  to  pronounce  judgment.  In 
the  hope  that  my  assistance  may  be  of  use  in  this 
matter,  so  far  as  a  knowledge  of  those  truths  is 

i6i7]       ADVOCATES  TOLERATION         161 

concerned  which  are  proved  by  the  science  to 
which  I  have  devoted  myself,  I  as  a  zealous  and 
Catholic  Christian  neither  can  nor  ought  to  with- 
hold that  assistance  which  my  knowledge  affords ; 
and  this  part  of  the  business  keeps  me  fully  em- 
ployed."— (Letter  to  Picchena,  6th  February  1616). 

As  illustrating  his  manner  of  assisting  the 
Copernican  cause,  the  following  letter  from  Antonio 
Querengo  to  Cardinal  d'Este,  2oth  January  1616,  is 

"Your  Reverence1  would  be  delighted  with 
Galileo  if  you  heard  him  holding  forth,  as  he  often 
does,  in  the  midst  of  fifteen  or  twenty,  all  violently 
attacking  him,  sometimes  in  one  house,  sometimes 
in  another.  But  he  is  armed  after  such  fashion 
that  he  laughs  all  of  them  to  scorn ;  and  even  if 
the  novelty  of  his  opinions  prevents  entire  per- 
suasion, at  least  it  convicts  of  emptiness  most  of 
the  arguments  with  which  his  adversaries  endeavour 
to  overwhelm  him.  He  was  particularly  admirable 
on  Monday  last,  in  the  house  of  Signor  Federigo 
Ghisilieri ;  and  what  especially  pleased  me  was 
that,  before  replying  to  the  contrary  arguments, 
he  amplified  and  enforced  them  with  new  grounds 
of  great  plausibility,  so  as  to  leave  his  adversaries 
in  a  more  ridiculou3  plight  when  he  afterwards 
overturned  them  all." 

This  entering  the  lists  in  the  cause  of  Coperni- 
canism  was,  to  say  the  least,  magnanimous,  and 
Galileo  was  entitled  as  no  other  was  to  appear 
as  an  advocate;  but  unfortunately  his  warm  and, 
perhaps,  too  solicitous  efforts  in  the  cause  had  a 

1  The  title  Eminence  was  pot  conferred  on  Cardinals  until  twelve 
years  later. . 


1 62     BEFORE    THE    INQUISITION     [1612- 

result  precisely  opposite  to  the  one  he  intended. 
The  fact  is,  Galileo's  too  sanguine  temperament 
deceived  him  woefully  as  to  the  true  course  of  these 
transactions,  as  we  shall  also  find  to  be  the  case 
in  his  second  and  more  terrible  encounter  with  the 
Holy  Office ;  for,  a  few  days  after  he  thought  his 
own  affairs  so  satisfactorily  settled  that  he  could 
if  he  chose  return  to  Florence  in  triumph,  a  bolt 
shot  out  of  the  blue  which  paralysed  him,  and 
spread  consternation  among  his  friends.  Without 
any  warning  (for  such  was  the  manner  of  the  In- 
quisition), on  i  pth  February,  the  Qualifiers,  or 
official  experts,  of  the  Holy  Office  were  called  on 
for  an  opinion  on  the  following  propositions  ex- 
tracted from  Galileo's  work  on  the  Sun-spots :— *- 

(1)  The  sun  is  the   centre  of  the  world,  and, 

therefore,  immovable  from  its  place. 

(2)  The  earth  is  not  the  centre  of  the  world, 

and  is  not  immovable,  but  moves,   and 
also  with  a  diurnal  motion. 
On  the  24th  February  the  Qualifiers  reported  : — 

(1)  The   first    proposition    is   unanimously   de- 

clared to  be  false  and  absurd  philosophi- 
cally, and  formally  heretical,  inasmuch 
as  it  expressly  contradicts  the  doctrines 
of  Holy  Scripture  in  many  passages, 
both  if  taken  in  their  literal  meaning  and 
according  to  the  interpretation  of  the 
Holy  Fathers  and  learned  theologians. 

(2)  The  second  proposition  is  declared  unani- 

mously to  deserve  the  like  censure  (as 
the  first)  in  philosophy,  and,  as  regards 
its  theological  aspect,  to  be  at  least 
erroneous  in  faith. 

1617]    BELLARMINE'S   ADMONITION    163 

On  25th  February,  Cardinal  Mellini  reported 
this  opinion  to  the  Holy  Office,  and,  as  the  result, 
Cardinal  Bellarmine  was  directed  "to  summon 
before  him  the  said  Galileo,  and  admonish  him 
to  abandon  the  said  opinion ;  and  in  case  of  refusal 
the  Commissary  is  to  intimate  to  him,  before  a 
notary  and  witnesses,  a  command  to  abstain  alto- 
gether from  teaching  or  defending  the  said  opinion, 
and  even  from  discussing  it ;  and  if  he  do  not 
acquiesce  therein  he  is  to  be  imprisoned." 

This  admonition  was  administered  on  the  next 
day,  as  appears  from  the  following  minute  : — 

"  Friday,  the  26th.  At  the  palace,  the  usual 
residence  of  the  Lord  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  the  said 
Galileo,  having  been  summoned  and  brought  before 
the  said  Lord  Cardinal,  was,  in  presence  of  the 
Most  Revd.  Michelangelo  Seghizzi,  of  the  order 
of  preachers,  Commissary  -  General  of  the  Holy 
Office,  warned  by  the  said  Lord  Cardinal  of  the 
error  of  the  aforesaid  opinion  and  admonished  to 
abandon  it.  And  immediately  thereafter  before  me 
and  before  witnesses,  the  Lord  Cardinal  Bellarmine 
being  still  present,  the  said  Galileo  was  by  the 
said  Commissary  commanded  and  enjoined,  in  the 
name  of  his  Holiness  the  Pope,  and  the  whole 
Congregation  of  the  Holy  Office,  to  relinquish 
altogether  the  said  opinion,  that  the '  sun  is  the 
centre  of  the  world,  and  immovable,  and  that  the 
earth  moves;  nor  henceforth  to  hold,  teach,  or 
defend  it  in  any  way  whatsoever,  verbally  or  in 
writing;  otherwise  proceedings  would  be  taken 
against  him  in  the  Holy  Office;  which  injunction 
the  said  Galileo  acquiesced  in  and  promised  to  obey. 

"  Done  at  Rome,  in  the  palace  aforesaid,  in  the 
presence  of  Badino  Nores,  of  Nicosia,  in  the 
Kingdom  of  Cyprus,  and  Augustino  Mongardo, 

164     BEFORE    THE    INQUISITION      [1612- 

from  a  place  in  the  abbacy  of  Rose,  in  the  diocese 
of  Politianeti,  inmates  of  the  said  Cardinal's  house, 

Here  the  process  ended  so  far  as  Galileo  was 
concerned,  but  it  was  followed  up  a  few  days  later 
by  an  edict  prohibiting  and  suspending  certain 
writings,  amongst  them  the  book  of  Copernicus. 
This  decree  runs  as  follows : — 

"March  3,  1616.  The  Lord  Cardinal  Bellar- 
mine  having  reported  that  Galileo  Galilei,  mathe- 
matician, had,  in  terms  of  the  order  of  the  Holy 
Congregation,  been  admonished  to  abandon  the 
opinion  he  has  hitherto  held,  and  had  acquiesced 
therein ;  and  the  decree  of  the  Congregation  of  the 
Index  having  been  presented,  prohibiting  and  sus- 
pending respectively  the  writings  of  Nicolas 
Copernicus  on  'The  Revolutions  of  the  Celestial 
Orbs';  of  Diego  di  Zuniga  'On  Job';  and  of 
Paolo  Antonio  Foscarini,  Carmelite  friar ;  his  Holi- 
ness has  ordered  this  edict  of  prohibition  and  sus- 
pension respectively  to  be  published  as  follows  : — 
"March  5,  1616  [after  preamble].  And 
whereas  it  has  also  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the 
said  Congregation  that  the  Pythagorean  doctrine 
(which  is  false  and  altogether  opposed  to  Holy 
Scripture)  of  the  motion  of  the  earth  and  the 
quiescence  of  the  sun,  which  is  also  taught  by 
Nicolas  Copernicus  in  his  'Revolutions  of  the 
Celestial  Orbs/  and  by  Diego  di  Zuniga  in  his 
book  'On  Job/  is  now  being  spread  abroad  and 
accepted  by  many — as  may  be  seen  from  a  certain 
letter  of  a  Carmelite  father,  wherein  he  attempts  to 
show  that  the  aforesaid  doctrine  is  consonant  with 

1  It  should  be  noted  that  this  minute  bears  no  signature,  neither  of 
Cardinal,  Commissary,  and  witnesses,  nor  of  Galileo. 

1617]         COPERNICAN    DOCTRINE          165 

truth  and  is.  not  opposed  to  Holy  Scripture. 
Therefore,  in  order  that  this  opinion  may  not 
insinuate  itself  any  further  ^  to  the  prejudice  of 
Catholic  truth,  the  Holy  Congregation  has  decreed 
that  the  said  works  of  Nicolas  Copernicus  and 
Diego  di  Zuniga  be  suspended  until  they  be  cor- 
rected ;  that  the  book  of  the  Carmelite,  Foscarini, 
be  altogether  prohibited  and  condemned  ;  and  that 
all  other  books  in  which  the  same  doctrine  is  taught 
be  likewise  prohibited."1 

It  should  be  noted  that  the  book  of  Copernicus 
was  only  suspended  until  corrected.  These  "cor- 
rections," which  were  of  the  most  trivial  character, 
were  carried  out  under  the  supervision  of  Cardinal 
Gaetani  in  1620,  after  which  it  would  be  allowable 
to  read  the  book,  and  its  doctrines  could  be  held  by 
the  faithful,  "ex  hypotkesi,  and  without  affirming 
anything."  * 

1  The  Diego  di  Zuniga  mentioned  in  this  decree  was  a  professor 
in  Salamanca,  who  in  1584  adopted  the  Copernican  theory  as  not 
opposed  to  Scripture.  Foscarini's  letter  of  6th  January  1615  was 
addressed  to  the  General  of  his  Order,  and  in  it  he  accepts  Galileo's 
discoveries  as  proof  of  the  truth  of  the  Copernican  theory.  One 
passage  is  worth  quoting : — 

"  Holy  Church  with  its  visible  head,  the  Pope,  assisted  by  the 
Holy  Spirit,  cannot  err  in  questions  of  faith,  but  it  can  err  in  its 
judgments  of  practical  questions,  in  philosophic  speculations,  and 
other  matters  which  are  not  concerned  with  our  salvation." 

This  was  precisely  Galileo's  contention  throughout  all  these 

8  They  consisted  in  the  omission  of  a  few  passages  in  the  preface, 
and  in  the  alteration  of  certain  words  in  the  text,  as,  notably,  the  word 
"  star  "  when  applied  to  the  earth.  Also  such  words  as  stated  or  im- 
plied that  the  hypothesis  was  true  were  altered  so  as  to  make  it  one  of 
mathematics  pure  and  simple,  and  without  any  pretension  to  reality. 
As  no  one  cared  to  bring  out  an  edition  of  Copernicus  in  this 
bowdlerised  state,  his  book  remained  prohibited  in  Italy  for  over 
two  hundred  years.  ' 

166     BEFORE    THE    INQUISITION     [1612- 

Galileo  remained  in  Rome  for  nearly  three 
months  after  the  promulgation  of  the  decree  of  5th 
March.  His  enemies  spread  the  report  that  he  had 
been  obliged  to  recant  formally  and  to  abjure  his 
opinions.  It  would  be  easy  to  show  his  friends 
how  grossly  exaggerated  was  this  report;  but  in 
order  the  better  to  confute  these  calumnies,  and 
to  guard  against  them  in  the  future,  he  obtained 
a  paper  from  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  stating  the  facts 
as  follows  : — 

"  We,  Robert  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  having  heard 
that  it  is  calumniously  reported  that  Signor  Galileo 
Galilei  has  in  our  hand  abjured,  and  has  also  been 
punished  with  salutary  penance,  and  being  requested 
to  state  the  truth  as  to  this,  declare  that  the  said 
Signor  Galileo  Galilei  has  not  abjured,  either  in  our 
hand  or  the  hand  of  any  other  person  here  in  Rome, 
or  anywhere  else,  so  far  as  we  know,  any  opinion 
or  doctrine  held  by  him ;  neither  has  any  salutary 
penance  been  imposed  upon  him,  but  only  the 
declaration  made  by  the  Holy  Father,  and  pub- 
lished by  the  sacred  Congregation  of  the  Index, 
has  been  intimated  to  him,  wherein  it  is  set  forth 
that  the  doctrine  attributed  to  Copernicus — that 
the  earth  moves  round  the  sun,  and  that  the  sun 
is  stationary  in  the  centre  of  the  world,  and  does 
not  move  from  east  to  west — is  contrary  to  the 
Holy  Scriptures,  and  therefore  cannot  be  defended 
or  held. 

"  In  witness  whereof  we  have  written  and  sub- 
scribed these  presents  with  our  hand  this  26th 
day  of  May  1616." 

We  have  been  careful  to  give  the  principal 
documents  connected  with  this  momentous  process, 
for  upon  them,  and  especially  upon  the  unsigned 

i6i7]        ADMONITION    EXAMINED         167 

minute  of  26th  February,  hinge  the  charges  on 
which  Galileo  was  brought  before  the  Inquisition 
in  1633,  and  his  defence.  Von  Gebler  and  other 
critical  historians  in  recent  times  conclude  that  the 
minute  of  26th  February  is  spurious  —  concocted 
by  enemies,  and  placed  among  the  acts  of  the 
case  with  the  hope  of  being  useful  at  some  future 
time.  Von  Gebler  says  : — 

"In  common  with  other  critics,  we  ourselves 
had  long  been  of  opinion  that  this  note  originated 
not  in  1616  but  in  1632,  in  order  to  legalise  the 
trial  of  Galileo  begun  in  the  latter  year.  But 
after  repeatedly  and  very  carefully  examining  the 
original  papers,  preserved  among  the  Papal  archives, 
we  were  compelled  to  acknowledge  that  the  material 
nature  of  the  document  entirely  excludes  the  sus- 
picion of  a  subsequent  fabrication.  The  note  was 
not  fabricated  in  1632,  but,  probably,  in  1616. 
With  subtle  and  perfidious  calculation  a  lie  was 
then  entered,  which  was  to  have  the  most  mo- 
mentous consequences  for  the  great  astronomer."1 

Von  Gebler  discusses  this  question  at  great 
length,  but  he  does  not  convince  us  that  his 
view  is  the  right  one.  That  the  document  is  not 
a  forgery  of  the  year  1616  seems  to  us  sufficiently 
proved  by  the  facts  that  it  lay  buried  for  sixteen 
years,  its  existence  not  even  hinted  at,  and  that 
it  was  only  accidentally  discovered  late  in  1632,  to 
the  surprise  of  every  one.  Were  it  a  forgery  with 
a  purpose,  its  authors  would  be  sure  to  bring  it 
up  in  the  fierce  discussions  over  the  comets  of 
1618-19,  or  over  Galileo's  "  II  Saggiatore"  of  1623, 

1  "Galileo  and  the  Roman  Curia,"  p.  90. 

168     BEFORE   THE    INQUISITION     [1612- 

which  contained  " heretical"  teaching,  and  which, 
as  we  shall  see,  was  a  b&te  noire  of  the  Jesuits, 
or,  finally,  immediately  after  the  publication  of  his 
Dialogues  early  in  1632.  That  Galileo  himself  in 
after  years  said  it  was  a  forgery — part  of  a  deep- 
laid  plan  to  crush  him — we  can  excuse  as  the 
hasty  expression  of  an  outraged  man  writhing 
under  persecution. 

The  learned  Professor  Favaro,  who  has  for  the 
last  twenty-five  years  made  a  study  of  Galileo's 
life  and  works,  takes  the  opposite  view  to  Von 
Gebler.  He  also  has  very  carefully  examined 
the  Vatican  MSS.,  and  can  come  to  no  other 
conclusion  than  that  the  document  in  question  is 
genuine  and  bond  fide ;  that  it  was  drawn  up  at 
the  time,  and  put  in  its  place,  as  a  record  of  what 
actually  happened,  and  with  no  sort  of  arriere  pensde. 

Between  these  two  extreme  opinions  it  seems 
to  us  that  a  middle  view  will  more  nearly  corre- 
spond with  the  facts,  and  with  the  subsequent 
conduct  of  Galileo  and  his  enemies.  We  accept 
Professor  Favaro's  view,  but  with  this  qualifica- 
tion, that  the  document  is  true  to  the  letter,  but 
not  to  the  spirit  of  the  proceedings  of  26th 
February.  To  our  mind  the  admonition  by  the 
Cardinal  was  all  that  was  intended  (see  documents 
above,  dated  3rd  March  and  26th  May).  The 
further  interference  of  the  Commissary  -  General 
was  due  to  trSp  de  zele,  or  fussiness,  on  his  part, 
and  may  have  arisen  in  this  way.  Imagine  the 
case  of  a  culprit  brought  up  for  sentence  on  his 
first  offence  before  a  magistrate  and  a  fussy  or  over- 
zealous  clerk.  The  culprit,  expecting  (as  we  know 

i6i7]   ADMONITION,  ITS  REAL  EXTENT    169 

Galileo  did)  something  very  mild,  is  surprised  at 
being  admonished  to  abandon  his  opinions  ;  he 
gives  expression  to  this  surprise  by  word  or  look 
— seems  not  to  comprehend.  "What,"  he  then 
exclaims,  "must  I  abandon  them  altogether?  Can 

I  not  even  dis "  "  No,  no,"  cuts  in  the  clerk. 

"You  are  commanded  to  abstain  altogether  from 
teaching  or  defending,  and  even  from  discussing 
them  in  any  way  whatever,  and  if  you  do  not 
acquiesce  you  will  be  imprisoned."  The  culprit, 
amazed,  says  no  more,  bows,  and  retires  crestfallen, 
noting  only  the  Cardinal's  admonition,  and  disre- 
garding the  Commissary's  remark  altogether,  or 
regarding  it  as  no  part  of  the  decision,  as  merely 
a  repetition  in  other  and  stronger  words  of  the 
Cardinal's  simple  admonition. 

That  this  is  the  view  which  Cardinal  Bellarmine 
and  the  Holy  Office  took  of  the  proceedings  is  clear 
from  the  wording  of  the  documents  dated  26th  May 
and  3rd  March,  in  which  the  interpolation  of  the 
Commissary-General  is  ignored ;  and  that  it  is  the 
view  which  Galileo  took,  his  after  conduct  will 
show.  Then,  the  facts  that  his  writings  are  not 
mentioned  in  the  decree  of  5th  March,  and  that 
the  book  of  Copernicus  is  only  suspended  pending 
correction,  go  to  show  that  the  Copernican  doctrines 
might  still  be  held  and  discussed  in  a  hypothetical 
way,  and  by  Galileo  as  well  as  by  others.  In 
fact,  it  was  so  understood  at  the  time,  and  the 
trivial  alterations  afterwards  made  in  the  book  of 
Copernicus  (as  above  stated)  confirmed  this  idea,1 

Galileo  having  taken  his  admonition  was  ad- 

1  See  more  on  this  subject  p,  275  infra. 

i;o     BEFORE    THE    INQUISITION     [1612- 

mitted  to  an  audience  of  the  Pope,  Paul  V.,  on 
nth  March,  which  lasted  three-quarters  of  an 
hour.  He  took  occasion  to  refer  to  the  events 
just  concluded,  and  expressed  his  fears  of  never- 
ending  persecution;  but  Paul  V.  consoled  him 
with  the  assurance  that  he  need  have  no  fear  ;  that 
he  was  held  in  so  much  esteem  by  himself  and  the 
whole  Congregation,  that  they  would  not  listen  to 
any  calumnies ;  and  that,  as  long  as  he  occupied 
the  chair  of  St  Peter,  Galileo  might  rest  assured 
that  he  was  safe  from  all  danger, 

On  the  eve  of  Galileo's  departure  from  Rome, 
Cardinal  del  Monte  wrote  to  the  Grand  Duke 
"to  bear  witness  that  he  was  leaving  with  the 
best  reputation,  and  the  approval  of  all  who  have 
had  transactions  with  him,  for  it  has  been  made 
manifest  how  unjust  have  been  the  calumnies  of 
his  enemies/'1  However,  the  Grand  Duke's 
Ambassador,  Guicciardini,  told  a  different  story, 
and,  perhaps,  a  truer  one.  All  along  he  had  tried 
to  get  Galileo  recalled  to  Florence ;  his  last  letter 
of  1 3th  May  may  be  cited  as  a  specimen  of  his 
previous  despatches. 

"Galileo,"  he  says,  " seems  disposed  to  emulate 
the  monks  in  obstinacy,  and  to  contend  with 
personages  whom  you  cannot  attack  without  ruin 
to  yourself.  It  may  any  moment  be  heard  in 
Florence  that  he  has  stumbled  into  some  abyss 
or  other.  However,  the  heat  will  probably  drive 
him  from  Rome  before  long,  and  that  will  be  the 
best  thing  that  can  happen  to  him." 

Cosimo  IL,  alarmed   by  these  gloomy  reports 
1  The  letter  is  dated  4th  June  1616. 

i6i7]  ON    THE    TIDES  171 

of  his  ambassador,  at  last  issued  orders  for  Galileo's 
return,  and  on  23rd  May  Picchena  wrote : — 

"  You  have  had  enough  of  monkish  persecutions 
and  ought  to  know  by  this  what  the  flavour  of  them 
is.  His  Highness  fears  that  your  longer  stay  in 
Rome  may  involve  you  in  fresh  difficulties,  and 
would  therefore  be  glad  if  (as  you  have  so 
far  come  honourably  out  of  the  affair)  you  would 
not  tease  the  sleeping  dog  any  more,  and  would 
return  here  as  soon  as  possible.  There  are  rumours 
flying  about  which  we  do  not  like,  and  the  monks 
are  all  powerful.  I,  your  servant,  must  not  fail 
to  warn  you,  and  to  inform  you,  as  in  duty  bound, 
of  the  wishes  of  our  Master,  wherewith  I  kiss  your 

Galileo  complied  with  this  order  with  the  least 
possible  delay,  and  set  out  on  his  homeward 
journey  on  4th  June  1616. 

Amidst  all  the  cares  and  worries  of  this  visit 
Galileo's  teeming  mind  was  busy,  as  always,  with 
abstruse  questions  of  science.  He  had  not  been 
many  days  in  Rome  when  a  suggestion  from 
Cardinal  Orsini  was  enough  to  start  him  on  a 
treatise  on  the  Flux  and  Reflux  of  the  Tides,  written, 
as  was  customary  in  those  days,  in  the  form  of  a 
letter  to  the  Cardinal,  and  dated  8th  January  1616. 
We  have  seen  from  his  letter  to  Vinta,  of  7th  May 
1610,  in  which  he  enumerates  his  contemplated 
works,  that  a  treatise  on  the  Tides  was  one  of 
them.  Galileo's  theory  is  that  the  tides  are  the 
visible  effects  of  the  terrestrial  double  movement, 
since  they  are  the  combined  result  of  (i)  the  earth's 
daily  rotation,  and  (2)  the  inequality  of  the  absolute 
velocities  through  space  of  the  various  parts  of  the 

1/2  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE        [1612- 

earth's  surface.  We  now  know  this  to  be  erroneous, 
but  it  required  a  farther  advance  in  the  science  of 
motion  than  had  been  obtained  even  at  a  much 
later  date  to  point  out  its  insufficiency. 

The  problem  of  the  tides  had  been  from  the 
earliest  ages  one  of  the  most  difficult,  and  the 
solutions  advanced  by  different  enquirers  show  that 
it  long  deserved  the  name  given  to  it — "the  grave 
of  human  curiosity."  Some  supposed  the  rise  of 
the  waters  to  be  due  to  the  influx  of  rivers  into  the 
sea ;  others  compared  the  earth  to  a  huge  animal, 
whose  respiration  caused  the  tides ;  a  third  theory 
supposed  the  existence  of  subterraneous  fires  which 
periodically  made  the  sea  to  boil  up ;  while  others 
again  attributed  this  boiling  effect  to  changes  of 
temperature  in  the  sun  and  moon,  or  to  variations 
in  the  amount  of  their  light. 

Galileo's  ideas  on  the  subject  are  given  at  great 
length  in  his  treatise,  and  are  developed  and  re- 
inforced in  his  Dialogues  on  the  Two  Systems  of 
the  World,  where  they  occupy  the  whole  of  the 
fourth  "Day." 

Almost  as  soon  as  he  had  discovered  the  moons 
of  Jupiter  in  1610,  Galileo  began  a  work  the 
difficulty  and  fatigue  of  which  he  has  himself 
indicated  by  comparing  it  with  the  labours  of  Atlas. 
It  was  a  series  of  observations  on  the  satellites  with 
a  view  of  drawing  up  tables  so  as  to  be  able  to 
predict  all  particulars  of  their  situations,  relations, 
and  eclipses ;  and  thus  to  have  the  means  of 
determining  at  any  hour  of  the  night  the  longitude 
of  the  place  of  observation.  In  the  midst  of 
his  numerous  occupations  and  annoyances  of  all 

i6ir]          FINDING    LONGITUDES  173 

sorts,     he     steadily     worked     at     this     laborious 

After  six  years'  observation  and  calculation  of 
Jupiter's  satellites,  and  confident  of  the  practica- 
bility of  his  method,  Galileo  in  1616  opened  a 
correspondence  on  the  subject  with  the  Court  of 
Spain.2  The  reader  will  understand  how  the 
satellites  were  to  be  used,  if  their  movements 
could  be  so  nicely  ascertained  as  to  enable 
Galileo  at  Florence  to  predict  the  exact  times 
at  which  any  remarkable  configurations,  such  as 
an  eclipse,  would  occur.  A  mariner,  who  should 
observe  the  same  eclipse  and  compare  the  local  time 
(which  he  might  know  by  setting  his  watch  by 
the  sun  on  the  previous  noon)  with  the  time 
mentioned  in  the  tables,  would,  from  the  difference 
between  the  two,  have  data  for  calculating  his 
position.  Thus,  as  the  earth  rotates  through 
360°  of  longitude  in  24  hours,  or  15°  per  hour, 
the  difference  between  the  two  times  multiplied 

1  A  ready  method  of  finding  longitudes  at  sea  had  long  been  an 
object  of  search  with  all  the  maritime  powers  of  Europe.     In  1598 
the  Spanish  Government  offered  a  prize  of  1000  crowns    for  the 
discovery  of  such  a  method.     The  Dutch  followed  the  example  of 
Philip  III.  of  Spain  ;  the  French  Government  followed  with  a  prize  of 
100,000  livres ;    and  the  French  Academy  established  an    annual 
prize  for  those  who  made  the  most  useful  discoveries  connected  with 
the  subject.    In  1714  the  English  Parliament  appointed  a  committee 
to  consider  the  question,  when  an  Act  was  passed  gran  ting  ^10,000  for 
a  method  of  finding  the  longitude  to  a  degree,  or  60  geographical 
miles  ;  £i  5,000,  to  40  miles  ;  and  ^20,000,  to  30  miles.    At  length, 
in  1736,  the  problem  was  solved  in  the  ship's  chronometer  of  John 
Harrison,  a  village  carpenter  of  Faulby,  Yorkshire,  which  did  not  vary 
two  minutes  in  the  course  of  a  year. 

2  In  1612  Galileo  first  announced  his  method  to  the  Spanish 
Government,  through  the  medium  of  the  Tuscan  Ambassador,  but 
no  details  or  explanations  were  then  given. 

1/4          RETURN    TO    FLORENCE        [1612- 

by  15  will  give  the  degrees  of  longitude  by 
which  the  ship  is  distant  from  the  meridian  of 

Our  moon  had  already  been  used  for  the 
same  purpose;  it  changes  its  position  amongst 
the  stars  continuously,  and  if  at  specified  times 
throughout  the  day  that  position  can  be  predicted, 
it  is  available  as  a  signal  of  the  exact  time  at 
Florence,  or  wherever  the  tables  are  calculated 
for.  Using  his  watch  as  already  explained,  the 
mariner  would  then  be  able  to  determine  his 
longitude.  But  in  the  beginning  of  the  seven- 
teenth century,  tables  predicting  the  position  of 
the  moon  could  only  have  been  very  rough. 
And  its  very  proximity  to  the  earth  is  a  dis- 
advantage; for  an  observer  on  the  high  seas 
would  get  a  slightly  different  view  of  it  from 
that  expected  at  Florence,  and  this  apparent 
difference  in  the  moon's  position  amongst  the 
stars,  as  seen  from  the  two  different  places, 
would  have  to  be  allowed  for. 

This  complication  would  be  avoided  if  Jupiter 
were  made  use  of  as  a  time-recorder  instead  of 
the  moon.  The  great  distance  of  Jupiter,  the 
frequency  of  the  eclipses  (more  than  1000  yearly), 
and  (it  was  expected)  their  suddenness,  seemed 
to  promise  success  to  Galileo's  method.  It  was, 
however,  beset  by  practical  difficulties.  First, 
there  was  the  difficulty  of  observing  such  small 
objects  as  Jupiter's  moons  from  the  deck  of  a 
ship ;  and  secondly  and  greater,  accurate  time- 
keepers were  necessary,  but  were  not  available ; 
for,  although  we  have  just  spoken  of  watches. 

i6i7]  LONGITUDE     METHODS  175 

the  watches  and  clocks  of  those  days  were  not 
such  as  could  be  relied  on  even  for  the  few 
hours  between  the  time  of  observing  the  sun 
at  noon  and  the  subsequent  observation  of 

Galileo  thoroughly  appreciated  these  difficulties, 
and  to  obviate  the  first  he  proposed  to  use  a 
binocular  telescope  with  a  magnifying  power  of 
10  diameters.  This  he  called  the  Celatone  or 
Testiera>  as  the  apparatus  resembled  a  diving- 
helmet  with  telescopes  fixed  in  the  apertures  for 
the  eyes.1  He  also  had  made  in  the  arsenal  at 
Pisa  a  kind  of  boat  or  chair,  floating  in  another 
boat  filled  with  water  or  oil,  in  which  the  observer 
would  be  protected  from  all  motion.2  To  remedy 
the  second  difficulty  he  had  hopes  of  utilising  his 
early  observations  on  the  pendulum  and  applying 
it  as  a  measurer  of  time.  But  it  was  many  years 

1  The  above  reference  to  the   Celatone  is  based  on  a  letter  of 
Galileo    to    Orso   d'Eki,   without  date  but  circa  June    1617.     The 
passage  is  vague  and  evidently  with  a  purpose,  as  he  wished  the 
" invention"  to  be  kept  secret.     Professor  Favaro  has  since  drawn  my 
attention  to  another  of  Galileo's  letters,  dated  6th  June  1637,  in  which 
we  find  the  apparatus  for  the  first  time  clearly  described.     "  I  made," 
he  says,  "  for  the  use  of  our  navy  a  kind  of  cap,  fitted  to  the  head  of 
the  observer,  and  supporting  a  telescope  in  such  a  way  that  it  always 
points  in  the  same  direction  as  the  tree  eye,  so  that  an  object  viewed 
by  the  latter  is  also  seen  by  the  other  eye  through  the  telescope.     A 
similar  apparatus  could  be  made  and  fixed  on  the  shoulders  and  chest 
of  the  observer,  to  support  a  telescope  of  a  power  sufficient  to  show 
the  satellites  of  Jupiter,  and  adjustable  as  in  the  case  of  the  Celatone. 
When,  then,  the  free  eye  is  turned  towards  Jupiter  the  other  eye  sees 
through  the  telescope  not  only  the  planet  but  its  satellites."    From 
this  it  is  clear  that  Galileo  did  not  propose  a  binocular  telescope  as 
has  hitherto  been  supposed,  but  simply  a  new  way  of  using  an  ordinary 

2  Galileo's  letter  to  Picchena,  22nd  March  1617.     In  this  way  he 
is  said  to  have  made  satisfactory  observations  in  the  harbour  of 
Leghorn,  while  the  ship  was  tossed  about  by  a  strong  wind. 

i;6          RETURN    TO    FLORENCE        [1612- 

later  before  steps  were  taken  to  give  his  ideas  a 
practical  form. 

During  his  visit  to  Rome  (in  1616)  Galileo 
disclosed  his  longitude  proposals  to  the  Conte 
di  Lemos,  the  Spanish  Viceroy  of  Naples,  who 
had  been  President  of  the  Council  of  the  Spanish 
Indies,  and  was  fully  aware  of  the  importance  of 
the  matter.  Negotiations  were  opened  with  the 
Spanish  Minister  at  Rome,  and  the  Grand  Duke 
of  Tuscany,  Cosimo  II.,  instructed  his  ambassador 
at  Madrid  to  conduct  the  business  with  the 
Spanish  Court.  Galileo  entered  warmly  into 
these  negotiations,  as  may  be  gathered  from  the 
following  extract  from  a  letter  to  the  Tuscan 
Minister  in  Spain. 

"Your  Excellency  may  well  believe  that  if 
this  were  an  undertaking  which  I  could  conclude 
by  myself,  I  would  never  have  gone  about 
begging  favours  from  others.  But  in  my  study 
there  are  neither  seas,  nor  Indies,  nor  islands, 
ports,  shoals,  and  ships,  for  which  reason  I  am 
compelled  to  share  the  enterprise  with  great 
personages,  and  to  fatigue  myself  to  procure  the 
acceptance  of  that  which  ought  with  eagerness 
to  be  asked  of  me.  But  I  console  myself  with 
the  reflection  that  I  am  not  singular  in  this,  since 
it  commonly  happens  that,  with  the  exception  of 
a  little  reputation  (and  that  too  often  obscured 
and  blackened  by  envy),  the  least  part  of  the 
advantage  falls  to  the  share  of  inventors  of  things 
which  bring  gain  (in  honours  and  riches)  to 
others.  However,  I  will  never  cease  to  do 
everything  in  my  power  to  forward  this  matter. 
I  am  ready  to  leave  here  all  my  comforts, 
country,  family,  friends,  and  to  cross  over  into 

i6i7]     LONGITUDE   NEGOTIATIONS     177 

Spain,  to  stay  as  long  as  I  may  be  wanted  in 
Seville,  or  Lisbon,  or  wherever  it  may  be 
convenient,  in  order  to  implant  the  knowledge  of 
my  method,  provided  only  that  due  assistance 
and  diligence  be  not  wanting  on  the  part  of 
those  who  are  to  receive  it." 

But  he  could  not,  with  all  his  enthusiasm, 
bring  the  Spanish  Court  to  a  decision.  His 
proposals  were  discussed  in  Council,  favourable 
reports  were  made  to  the  King,  but  his  Majesty 
could  not  make  up  his  mind  to  spend  money  on 
experiments  which  he  thought  might  prove  as 
fallacious  as  others  that  had  been  tried  before 
with  the  same  object.  The  negotiation  dragged 
on  during  1617  and  part  of  1618  and  then 
languished,  and,  although  occasionally  renewed 
during  the  next  ten  or  twelve  years  (in  1620, 
1629,  and  1632),  was  never  brought  to  a  satisfactory 

Galileo's '  disappointment  was  in  some  degree 
mitigated  later  on  by  his  own  Sovereign  taking 
up  the  method  for  use  in  the  Tuscan  Navy.  Its 
application,  however,  has  proved  to  be  beset  with 
so  many  difficulties  that  the  method  has  fallen 
into  disuse.  The  unsteadiness  of  the  observer 
at  sea  cannot  be  overcome,  and  is  more  serious 
in  an  observation  of  the  required  nature  than  in 
the  measurement  of  the  moon's  distance  from  a 
star.  Accordingly  the  method  is  now  one  of 
historic  interest  only. 




FOR  a  long  time  after  his  return  to  Florence  in 
June  1616,  Galileo's  health  had  been  very  indifferent. 
A  complication  of  his  old  maladies,  aggravated  by 
long  fits  of  hypochondria,  left  him  little  time  or 
taste  for  work,  and  sadly  interrupted  his  corre- 
spondence. His  old  friend  Sagredo  often  advised 
him  to  take  his  ease  and  be  content  with  the 
laurels  he  had  already  won.  "  Philosophise,"  he 
used  to  say,  "comfortably  in  your  bed  and 
leave  the  stars  alone.  Let  fools  be  fools,  let  the 
ignorant  plume  themselves  on  their  ignorance. 
Why  should  you  court  martyrdom  for  the  sake  of 
winning  them  from  their  folly?  It  is  not  given 
to  every  one  to  be  of  the  number  of  the  elect.  I 
believe  the  universe  was  made  for  my  service,  not 
I  for  the  universe.  Live  as  I  do  and  you  will  be 
happy."  This,  indeed,  was  the  burden  of  Sagredo's 
letters  from  the  time  his  friend  quitted  Padua  in 
1610  up  to  his  own  death  on  5th  March  1620. 

But  Galileo  had  not  the  epicurean  temperament 
of  his  friend.  Speculation  and  experiment  were  as 
necessary  to  him  as  food  and  air ;  yet  from  these 


1617-1624]  DESPONDENCY  179 

he  was  now  practically  debarred  by  the  Papal  pro- 
hibition of  26th  February.  How  could  he  resume 
his  old  work,  or  begin  any  new  one  ?  The  Coperni- 
can  theory  of  the  world  was  the  basis  of  all  his 
work.  Its  acceptance  and  application  were  for- 
bidden him,  and  the  general  permission  to  employ 
it  as  a  working  hypothesis  was  a  mockery.  Can 
we  wonder  then  at  the  fits  of  melancholy  which 
frequently  oppressed  him.  Yet  inaction  to  a  man 
of  his  temperament  was  intolerable;  he  must  be 
doing  something ;  he  was  fond  of  gardening,  but 
he  could  not  be  always  digging,  and  weeding,  and 
pruning.  He  must  be  doing  something  else;  he 
could  not  write  for  publication,  but  he  could  at  least 
commune  with  his  intimate  friends ;  and  so,  for  some 
years  he  poured  out  his  thoughts  in  long  private 
letters,  copies  of  which  were  circulated  amongst  the 
learned  men  of  Europe.  Unfortunately,  few  of 
these  are  now  extant ;  but  amongst  these  few  there 
is  one  which  deserves  notice,  as  it  shows  how  in- 
tolerable the  writer  felt  his  position  to  be.  It  is 
also  interesting  as  a  specimen  of  the  keen  sarcasm 
of  which  he  was  a  master.  During  his  stay  at 
Rome,  as  we  have  seen,  he  wrote  a  treatise  on  the 
tides.  Now,  on  23rd  May  1618,  he  sent  .a  copy  of 
this  to  the  Archduke  Leopold  of  Austria;  but  as 
since  it  was  written  the  proceedings  culminating  in 
the  decree  of  5th  March  1616  had  taken  place, 
Galileo  added  the  following  accompaniment : — 

"With  this  I  send  a  treatise  on  the  causes  of 
the  tides,  which  I  wrote  more  than  two  years  ago, 
at  the  suggestion  of  his  Reverence  Cardinal  Orsini 
in  Rome,  and  at  the  time  when  the  theologians 

i8o          GALILEO    IN     FLORENCE        [1617- 

were  thinking  of  prohibiting  the  book  of  Copernicus 
and  the  doctrine  enunciated  therein  of  the  motion 
of  the  earth,  which  I  held  to  be  true  until  it  pleased 
those  gentlemen  to  prohibit  the  work  and  to  declare 
that  opinion  to  be  false  and  contrary  to  Scripture. 
Now,  knowing  as  I  do  that  it  behoves  us  to  obey 
the  decisions  of  the  authorities  and  to  believe  them, 
since  they  are  guided  by  a  higher  insight  than  any 
to  which  my  humble  mind  can  of  itself  attain,   I 
consider  this  treatise  which  I  send  you  merely  to 
be  a  poetical  conceit  or  a  dream,  and  desire  that 
your  Highness  may  take  it  as  such,  inasmuch  as  it 
is  based  on  the  double  motion  of  the  earth,  and, 
indeed,  contains  one  of  the  arguments  which  I  have 
adduced   in   confirmation   of  it.      But   even  poets 
sometimes  attach  a  value  to  one  or  other  of  their 
fantasies,  and  I  likewise  attach  some  value  to  this 
fancy  of  mine.     Now,  having  written  this  treatise 
and     having    shown    it    to     the    Cardinal    above 
mentioned  and  a  few  others,  I  have  also  let  a  few 
exalted    personages   have    copies,    in    order    that, 
in  case  any  one  not  belonging  to  our  Church  should 
try    to     appropriate    my    curious     fancy    (as    has 
happened   to   me   with   many   of  my   discoveries), 
these  personages,  being  above  all  suspicion,  may  be 
able  to  bear  witness  that  it  was  I  who  first  dreamed 
of  this  chimera.     What  I  now  send  is  but  a  fugitive 
performance.     It  was  written  in  haste  and  in  the 
expectation  that  the  work  of  Copernicus  would  not 
be  condemned  as  erroneous  eighty  years  after  its 
publication,     I  had  intended  at  my  convenience  and 
in  quiet  to  have  gone  more  particularly  into  this 
subject,    to    have    added    more    proofs,    to    have 
arranged  the  whole  anew,  and  to  have  put  it  into 
a    better    form.      But    a  voice   from   heaven  has 
aroused    me   and   dissolved  all   my   confused   and 
tangled  fantasies    in    mist!     May   therefore    your 
Highness  graciously  accept  it,  ill-arranged  as  it  is  ; 

1 624]  THE    COMETS    OF    1618  181 

and  if  Divine  love  ever  grants  that  I  may  be  in  a 
position  to  exert  myself  a  little,  your  Highness  may 
expect  something  more  solid  and  real  from  me." 

In  August  1618,  three  comets  appeared  in  the 
heavens,  and  the  brilliant  one  in  the  constellation 
of  the  Scorpion  —  one  of  the  most  splendid  of 
modern  times  —  especially  attracted  the  attention 
of  astronomers.  Although  this  was  visible  until 
January  1619,  Galileo  had  little  opportunity  of 
observing  it,  as  he  was  confined  to  bed  nearly  the 
whole  time  by  severe  illness.1  However,  we  may 
suppose  with  Viviani  that  he  was  able  to  observe  a 
little,  but,  certainly,  he  reflected  much,  and,  as  soon 
as  he  was  able,  he  communicated  his  views  to  his 
friends,  amongst  others  to  the  above-mentioned 
Archduke  Leopold,  who,  being  in  Florence  on  a 
visit,  came  to  see  him. 

His  views  were  published  about  the  middle  of 
1619,  through  the  medium  of  Mario  Guiducci,  a 
Florentine  disciple.2  He  did  not  consider  comets  to 
be  really  heavenly  bodies,  analogous  to  the  planets 
as  was  currently  supposed,  but  only  atmospheric 
phenomena — columns  of  vapour  which  rise  from  the 
earth  to  a  great  height,  far  beyond  the  moon,  and  be- 
come temporarily  visible  by  refraction  of  the  sun's 
rays.  In  fact,  he  classed  comets  in  the  same  category 
as  rainbows  and  mock  suns.  Referring  to  some 
proposed  parallax  measurements  of  the  comets, 

1  During  great  part  of  the  years  1617  and  1618,  Galileo  was  ill  or 
ailing.     In  June  1618  he  made  a  pilgrimage  to  Loreto,  "The  Mecca 
of  Christendom,"  in  the  hope  that  a  change  of  air  and  habits  might 
free  him  from  the  fevers  which  molested  him- 

2  "Discorso  delle  Comete  di   Mario    Guiducci,"  etc.,   Florence, 

1 82          GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

he  pointed  out  the  difference  in  this  respect 
between  a  fixed  object,  the  distance  of  which 
may  be  calculated  by  two  angular  observations 
at  a  known  distance  apart,  and  atmospheric 
appearances  like  rainbows  which  are  simul- 
taneously formed  in  different  drops  of  water 
for  each  spectator,  so  that  two  observers  in 
different  places  are,  in  fact,  viewing  different 
objects.  He  then  warns  astronomers  not  to 
engage  with  too  much  warmth  in  a  discussion 
on  the  distance  of  comets  before  they  assure 
themselves  to  which  of  these  two  classes  of 
phenomena  they  are  to  be  referred.  The 
remark  is  in  itself  perfectly  just,  although  the 
opinion  which  occasioned  it  is  now  known  to 
be  erroneous ;  but  it  is  questionable  whether  the 
few  observations  which  up  to  that  time  had  been 
made  upon  comets  were  sufficient  to  justify  the 
bitter  censures  which  have  been  cast  on  Galileo 
on  account  of  it.  Indeed,  the  same  opinion  was 
held  for  a  time  by  Cassini,  the  celebrated 
astronomer  of  the  Paris  Observatory,  many  years 
after  Galileo,  and  when  the  science  was  con- 
siderably more  advanced ;  and  even  Newton 
did  not  consider  it  beneath  notice,  for  in  his 
"Principia"  he  takes  pains  to  show  on  what 
grounds  it  is  untenable. 

In  the  course  of  Guiducci's  essay,  some  opinions 
of  the  Jesuit  father,  Orazio  Grassi  (in  a  public 
discussion  on  the  comets  at  the  Collegio  Romano), 
were  so  indiscreetly  attacked  as  to  raise  the  ire 
of  the  whole  Jesuit's  College  at  Rome.  Grassi, 
under  the  pseudonym  of  Lotario  Sarsi,  published 

1624]       WRITES    «IL    SAGGIATORE"      183 

an  onslaught  on  Galileo's  cometary  theory  in  a 
book  called  "The  Astronomical  and  Philosophical 
Balance"  (1619) — a  violent  pamphlet  full  of  abuse 
of  Galileo  and  his  school.1  Friends,  like  Prince 
Cesi,  and  Mgrs.  Ciampoli  and  Cesarini,  now 
advised  that  the  master  himself  should  take  up 
the  fight ;  but  ill-health  and  caution,  owing  to  the 
troubled  state  of  the  religious  and  political  horizons, 
prevented  the  appearance  of  his  reply  for  three 
years.  At  length,  in  October  1622,  he  sent  the 
MS.  of  this  celebrated  work,  "  II  Saggiatore  *' 
(The  Assayer),  to  Mgn  Cesarini  in  Rome,  and 
for  five  months  it  passed  from  hand  to  hand 
among  the  members  of  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei, 
who  examined  it  carefully  and  (with  the  author's 
consent)  altered  some  passages  which  might 
possibly  have  given  a  handle  to  his  enemies. 
The  Papal  Imprimatur  was  granted  2nd  February 
1623,  on  the  report  of  Father  Niccolo  Riccardi, 
Examiner,  who  was  formerly  a  pupil  of  Galileo, 
and  of  whom  we  shall  hear  a  great  deal  in  the 
sequel.  This  report  was  as  follows: — 

"By  command  of  the  Master  of  the  Palace, 
I  have  read  the  work  f  II  Saggiatore/  and  not 
only  have  I  detected  nothing  in  it  which  is  contrary 

1  The  reader  will  have  observed  that,  so  far,  hardly  one  of 
Galileo's  discoveries,  or  of  his  published  opinions,  whether  correct  or 
incorrect,  has  wanted  antagonists  and  detractors ;  and  so  we  shall 
find  it  to  the  end.  The  case  is  probably  unique  in  history,  and  rightly 
did  Byron  sing  of  "  The  starry  Galileo  with  his  Woes,"  for  never  was 
a  man  so  persecuted  for  fifty  out  of  the  seventy-eight  years  of  his  busy 
life*  A  French  biographer  (Parchappe)  justly  laments  "the  loss  to 
science  in  the  enormous  expenditure  of  energy  and  time  consumed  in 
defending  himself  and  his  teaching  against  the  incredible  rage  of  his 
enemies  in  struggles  without  end."  "Galilee,  sa  Vie,"  etc,  Paris, 
1866,  p.  79. 

1 84  GALILEO     IN     FLORENCE        [1617- 

to  good  morals,  or  deviates  from  the  Divine  Truth 
of  our  religion,  but  I  have  found  in  it  such  beautiful 
and  manifold  observations  on  natural  philosophy 
that  I  think  our  age  will  not  have  to  boast  merely 
of  having  been  the  inheritor  of  the  labours  of 
earlier  philosophers,  but  also  of  having  been  the 
discoverer  of  many  secrets  of  nature  which  they 
were  not  able  to  penetrate,  thanks  to  the  subtle 
and  solid  researches  of  the  author  whose  con- 
temporary I  think  myself  happy  to  be." 

While  the  work  was  in  the  press,  an  event 
occurred  which  seemed  likely  to  produce  a  change 
for  the  better  in  Galileo's  relations  with  Rome. 
On  8th  July  1623,  Gregory  XV.  succumbed  to  age 
and  infirmity  in  the  second  year  of  his  pontificate  ; 
and  the  man,  who  at  the  age  of  fifty-five  succeeded 
him  (elected  8th  August  1623),  was  Cardinal 
Maffeo  Barberini,  now  Pope  Urban  VII L 
Galileo  placed  great  hopes  for  the  progress  of 
science  in  general,  and  for,  at  least,  toleration  of 
the  Copernican  doctrine,  on  this  election ;  and 
to  all  appearances  he  was  justified  in  doing  so. 
Not  only  was  Urban  VIII.  a  refreshing  contrast 
to  his  immediate  predecessors  who  cared  little  for 
art  or  science,  but,  as  Cardinal,  he  had  for  many 
years  entertained  a  great  friendship  for  Galileo, 
as  many  letters  of  his  still  extant  show.  Thus, 
writing  from  Bologna,  5th  June  1612,  on  receipt  of 
a  copy  of  the  work  on  Floating  Bodies,  he  says  : — 

"I  have  received  your  treatise  on  various 
scientific  questions  which  have  been  raised  during 
my  stay  here,  and  shall  read  them  with  great 
pleasure,  both  to  confirm  myself  in  my  opinions 

i624]     URBAN    VIII.    AND    GALILEO      185 

which  agree  with  yours,  and  to  enjoy  with  the  rest 
of  the  world  the  fruits  of  your  rare  intellect/' 

Another  letter  of  2Oth  April  1613,  after  the 
work  on  Sun-spots  had  appeared,  may  be 
quoted  : — 

1  *  Your  printed  letters  to  Welser  have  reached 
me,  and  are  very  welcome.  I  shall  not  fail  to 
read  them  with  pleasure  again  and  again  as  they 
deserve.  This  is  not  a  book  which  will  be  allowed 
to  stand  idly  among  others.  It  is  the  only  one 
which  can  induce  me  to  withdraw  for  a  few  hours 
from  my  official  duties  to  devote  myself  to  its 
perusal,  and  to  the  observation  of  the  planets  of 
which  it  treats — if  the  telescopes  we  have  here 
are  fit  for  it.  Meanwhile  I  thank  you  very  much 
for  your  remembrance  of  me,  and  beg  you  not 
to  forget  the  high  opinion  which  I  entertain  for 
a  mind  so  extraordinarily  gifted  as  yours." 

The  Cardinal  had  not  confined  himself  to  mere 
assurances  of  esteem  and  friendship  in  his  letters, 
but  had  shown  them  in  his  acts.  Thus,  in  the 
troublous  times  in  1615-16,  his  influence  with 
Pope  Paul  V.  greatly  helped  Galileo  to  extricate 
himself  from  his  difficulties. 

In  1620,  Barberini  gave  another  and  a  really 
enthusiastic  proof  of  his  regard.  He  celebrated 
Galileo's  discoveries  in  some  elegant  verses  (in 
which  astronomy  was  allied  with  morality)  and 
sent  them  with  the  following  letter,  dated  2  8th 
August : — 

"The  esteem,  which  I  always  entertain  for 
yourself  and  for  your  great  merits,  has  given 
occasion  to  the  enclosed  verses.  If  not  worthy 

1 86  GALILEO     IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

of  you  they  will  serve  at  any  rate  as  a  proof  of 
my  affection ;  while  I  purpose  to  add  lustre  to 
my  poetry  by  coupling  it  with  your  renowned 
name.  Without  wasting  words  in  further  apologies, 
I  beg  you  to  receive  with  favour  this  small  proof 
of  my  great  esteem." 

After  much  delay  in  the  printing,  "II  Saggiatore" 
appeared  at  the  end  of  October  1623,  with  a 
dedication  to  Pope  Urban  VIIL,  and  under  the 
auspices  of  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei.  This  cele- 
brated work  is  a  masterpiece  of  ingenuity,  for  the 
author  not  only  dexterously  avoids  the  snares  laid 
for  him  by  Father  Grass!  and  his  supporters,  but 
brings  defeat  and  ridicule  upon  them  at  every 
turn.  All  this  is  done  in  so  sparkling  a  style, 
and  the  reasoning,  and  counter  refutations  are 
so  convincing,  that  "II  Saggiatore"  deserves  its 
reputation  as  a  model  of  dialectic  skill,  and  an 
ornament  of  classical  Italian  literature. 

The  book  was  a  great  success,  and,  of  course, 
intensified  the  bitterness  of  the  Jesuitical  party; 
so  much  so  that  the  General  of  the  Order  forbade, 
under  severe  penalties,  the  members  to  speak  of 
it  even  among  themselves.  It  is  important  to 
note  that  the  Pope  was  delighted  with  it,  and 
had  it  read  aloud  to  him  at  table. 

Early  in  1625,  the  book  was  denounced 
anonymously  to  the  Inquisition  as  a  veiled 
defence  of  the  Copernican  doctrines,  and  a  move- 
ment was  begun  to  prohibit  it,  or,  at  least,  to 
have  it  "corrected";  but  the  attempt  failed,  and 
only  brought  discredit  upon  the  agitators.  Father 
Guevara,  General  of  the  Theatines,  to  whom  it 

1624]  "IL    SAGGIATORE"  187 

was  submitted  for  examination,  reported  most 
favourably  of  it,  and  went  so  far  as  to  say  that, 
even  if  the  doctrine  of  the  earth's  motion  had 
been  maintained,  it  would  not  have  appeared 
to  him  a  sufficient  reason  for  condemning  the 

One  or  two  extracts  will  be  interesting.  As 
a  specimen  of  keen  cutting  banter  the  following 
is  admirable.  Sarsi  had  quoted  a  story  from  Suidas 
(in  support  of  his  argument  that  motion  always 
produces  heat)  to  the  effect  that  the  Babylonians 
used  to  cook  their  eggs  by  whirling  them  in  a 
sling.  To  this  Galileo  replied : — 

"  I  cannot  refrain  from  marvelling  that  Sarsi 
will  persist  in  proving  to  me,  by  authorities,  that 
which  at  any  moment  I  can  bring  to  the  test  of 
experiment  We  examine  witnesses  in  things 
which  are  doubtful,  past,  and  not  permanent,  but 
not  in  those  things  which  are  done  in  our  own 
presence.  If  discussing  a  difficult  problem  were 
like  carrying  a  weight,  since  several  horses  will 
carry  more  sacks  of  corn  than  one  alone  will,  I 
would  agree  that  many  reasoners  avail  more  than 
one ;  but  discoursing  is  like  coursing,  and  not  like 
carrying,  and  one  barb  by  himself  will  run  farther 
than  a  hundred  Friesland  horses.  When  Sarsi 
brings  up  such  a  multitude  of  authors,  it  does  not 
seem  to  me  that  he  in  the  least  degree  strengthens 
his  own  conclusions,  but  he  ennobles  the  cause  of 
Signor  Mario  and  myself,  by  showing  that  we 
reason  better  than  many  men  of  established  re- 
putation. If  Sarsi  insists  that  I  must  believe, 
on  Suidas's  credit,  that  the  Babylonians  cooked 
eggs  by  swiftly  whirling  them  in  a  sling,  I  will 
believe  it ;  but  I  must  say,  that  the  cause  of  such 
an  effect  is  very  remote  from  that  to  which  it  is. 

1 88          GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

attributed,  and  to  find  the  true  cause  I  shall  reason 
thus.     If  an  effect  does  not  follow  with  us  which 
followed  with  others  at  another  time,  it  is  because, 
in  our  experiment,  something  is  wanting  which  was 
the  cause  of  the  former  success ;  and  if  only  one 
thing  is  wanting  to  us,  that  one  thing  is  the  true 
cause.     Now  we  have  eggs,  and  slings,  and  strong 
men  to  whirl  them,  and  yet  they  will  not  become 
cooked ;  nay,   if  they  were  hot  at  first  they  more 
quickly  become  cold ;  and  since  nothing  is  wanting 
to  us  but  to  be  Babylonians,  it  follows  that  being 
Babylonians  is  the  true  cause  why  the  eggs  became 
cooked,   and   not  the    friction    of    the   air,    which 
is  what  I   wish  to  prove.     Is   it  possible  that  in 
travelling  post,  Sarsi  has  never  noticed  what  fresh- 
ness is  occasioned  on  the  face  by  the  continual 
change  of  air  ?  and  if  he  has  felt  it,  will  he  rather 
trust  the  relation  by  others  of  what  was  done  two 
thousand  years  ago  at  Babylon,  than  what  he  can 
at  this  moment  verify  in  his  own  person?     I,   at 
least,  will  not   be   so   wilfully  wrong,  and  so  un- 
grateful to  nature  and  to  God,  that  having  been 
gifted  with  sense  and  language  I  should  voluntarily 
set  less  value   on  such   great    endowments    than 
on  the  fallacies  of  a  fellow-man,  and  blindly  and 
blunderingly  believe  whatever  I  hear,  and  barter 
the  freedom  of  my  intellect  for  slavery  to  one  as 
liable  to  error  as  myself." 

Our  next  extract  is  a  good  sample  of  Galileo's 
metaphysics,  in  which  may  be  observed  the  germ  of 
a  theory  closely  allied  to  that  which  was  afterwards 
developed  by  Locke  and  Berkeley. 

"  I  have  now  only  to  fulfil  my  promise  of  declar- 
ing my  opinions  on  the  proposition  that  motion  is 
the  cause  of  heat,  and  to  explain  in  what  manner  it 
appears  to  me  that  it  may  be  true.  But  I  must  first 

i624]       GALILEO'S    METAPHYSICS        189 

make  some  remarks  on  that  which  we  call  heat, 
since  I  strongly  suspect  that  a  notion  of  it  prevails 
which  is  very  remote  from  the  truth;  for  it  is  be- 
lieved that  there  is  a  true  accident,  affection,  or 
quality,  really  inherent  in  the  substance  by  which 
we  feel  ourselves  heated.  This  much  I  have  to  say, 
that  as  soon  as  I  form  a  conception  of  a  material  or 
corporeal  substance,  I  simultaneously  feel  the 
necessity  of  conceiving  that  it  has  its  boundaries, 
and  is  of  some  shape  or  other;  that,  relatively  to 
others,  it  is  great  or  small ;  that  it  is  in  this  or  that 
place,  in  this  or  that  time ;  that  it  is  in  motion,  or  at 
rest ;  that  it  touches,  or  does  not  touch  another  body  ; 
that  it  is  unique,  rare,  or  common  ;  nor  can  I,  by  any 
act  of  the  imagination,  disjoin  it  from  these  qualities  ; 
but  I  do  not  find  myself  absolutely  compelled  to 
apprehend  it  as  necessarily  accompanied  by  such 
conditions  as  that  it  must  be  white  or  red,  bitter  or 
sweet,  sonorous  or  silent,  smelling  sweetly  or  dis- 
agreeably ;  and  if  the  senses  had  not  pointed  out 
these  qualities,  it  is  probable  that  language  and 
imagination  alone  could  never  have  arrived  at  them. 
Therefore,  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  these  tastes, 
smells,  colours,  etc.,  with  regard  to  the  object  in 
which  they  appear  to  reside,  are  nothing  more  than 
mere  names,  and  exist  only  in  the  sensitive  body  ; 
insomuch  that  when  the  living  creature  is  removed 
all  these  qualities  are  carried  off  and  annihilated  ; 
although  we  have  imposed  particular  names  upon 
them  (different  from  those  other  and  real  accidents), 
and  would  fain  persuade  ourselves  that  they  truly 
and  in  fact  exist.  But  I  do  not  believe  that  there 
exists  anything  in  external  bodies  for  exciting  tastes, 
smells,  and  sounds,  but  size,  shape,  quantity,  and 
motion,  swift  or  slow;  and  if  ears,  tongues,  and 
noses  were  removed,  I  am  of  opinion  that  shape, 
quantity,  and  motion  would  remain,  but  there  would 
be  an  end  of  smells,  tastes,  and  sounds,  which, 

190          GALILEO     IN     FLORENCE        [1617- 

abstractedly  from  the  living  creature,  I  take  to  be 
mere  words." 

As  we  are  now  approaching  the  great  crisis  of 
Galileo's  public  life,  it  will  be  convenient  to  pause 
and  take  a  glance  at  his  family  affairs.  We  have 
seen  (p.  73)  that  he  was  never  married,  but  that  he 
had  by  the  Venetian,  Marina  Gamba,  three  children 
— Virginia,  Livia,  and  Vincenzio.  These  children 
were  brought  up  with  the  mother  in  Padua,  and  in 
a  separate  establishment  from  that  occupied  by  the 
father  in  Via  Vignali. 

It  would  appear  that  when  Galileo  quitted  Padua 
in  the  autumn  of  1610,  he  took  the  two  girls  with 
him  to  Florence,  and  placed  them  under  the  care  of 
his  brother-in-law,  Landucci ;  Vincenzio,  being  then 
only  four  years  old,  was  left  behind  with  his  mother 
until  October  1612,  when  he  too  was  brought  to 
Florence.  Shortly  afterwards,  Marina  married  a  well- 
to-do  man  in  her  own  sphere,  one  Giovanni  Bartoluzzi. 
This  step  appears  to  have  been  taken  with  Galileo's 
approval,  judging  from  the  respectful  and  friendly 
tone  of  the  only  letter  of  Bartoluzzi  (i7th  August 
1619)  found  amongst  Galileo's  papers.  It  appears 
from  this  letter,  and  from  two  others  written  by 
Liceti,  3ist  December  1610,  and  Pignoria,  25th 
January  1613,  that  Galileo  behaved  with  great 
liberality  to  Marina  and  her  husband. 

In  March  1610,  before  his  final  departure  from 
Padua,  he  had  the  intention  of  placing  his  elder 
daughter  as  a  boarder  in  the  convent  of  the  Nun- 
ziatina,  Florence ;  but,  although  all  the  preliminaries 
were  settled,  the  project,  for  some  unknown  reason, 

1624]      DAUGHTERS   BECOME  NUNS      191 

was  not  carried  out.  What  to  do  with  the  girls 
was  now  become  a  serious  question.  Their  taint 
of  birth  was  in  painful  contrast  to  the  honoured 
name  of  his  own  noble  family,  as  his  mother,  in  her 
frequent  and  "  terrible "  tempers,  did  not  fail  to 
remind  him.  His  means,  generally  as  we  have 
seen  insufficient  for  his  wants  and  never  too  large, 
did  not  hold  out  the  hope  of  being  able  to  make 
them  independent,  or  to  settle  them  suitably  in 
marriage.  In  these  circumstances  he  resolved, 
while  they  were  yet  young,  and  before  they  could 
acquire  a  taste  for  the  world,  to  place  them  both  in 
a  convent  for  life.  In  November  1611,  he  took 
steps  to  carry  out  this  resolution,  but  met  with  many 
difficulties.  He  did  not  wish  that  the  children 
should  be  separated,  but  there  was  a  strict  rule 
against  sisters  taking  the  veil  in  the  same  convent 
Then,  there  was  the  further  difficulty  of  the  girls 
being  much  under  the  canonical  age  of  full  sixteen 
— Virginia,  the  elder,  being  only  eleven.  However, 
after  long  negotiations,  and  finally  through  the 
influence  of  Cardinal  Bandini,  the  necessary  licences 
were  obtained,  and  in  October  1613  the  two  girls 
were  placed  in  the  Convent  of  San  Matteo,  Arcetri, 
near  Florence,  as  a  preparatory  step  to  their  novi- 
tiate and  final  profession.  In  July  1614  they  were 
entered  as  novices  of  the  Order.  The  Mother 
Abbess  of  the  time  was  a  sister  of  the  Secretary 
Vinta,  whose  name  has  often  occurred  in  these 
pages.  From  the  first  the  good  Lodovica  Vinta 
took  a  kindly  interest  in  the  poor  children ;  and  at 
her  suggestion  the  feasting  usual  on  taking  the  veil 
was  dispensed  with.  "It  would  be  better,"  she  said, 

192  GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

"  in  every  way  for  the  ceremony  to  take  place  quietly, 
and  the  money  will  be  far  better  employed  in  adding 
to  the  girls'  little  comforts  in  the  convent  than  in 
regaling  friends  and  relations/'  Finally,  Virginia 
became  a  professed  nun  on  4th  October  1616, 
under  the  name  of  Suor  Maria  Celeste  ;  and  Livia 
on  28th  October  1617,  under  the  name  of  Suor 
Arcangela  ;  and  here  we  shall  leave  them  for  awhile. 

After  the  death  of  Filippo  Salviati,  on  22nd 
March  1614,  Galileo  appears  to  have  given  up 
the  villa  near  Signa,  and  to  have  had  no  settled 
home  of  his  own  for  the  next  three  years.  He 
probably  had  a  pied-a-terre  in  his  mother's  house, 
where,  owing  to  her  terrible  tempers  and  his  own 
frequent  illnesses,  his  lot  was  not  a  happy  one. 

On  1 5th  August  1617,  he  rented  the  villa  of 
Lorenzo  Segni  on  the  Bellosguardo  Hill  outside 
Florence,  and  here  he  lived  for  the  next  fourteen 
years.  Perched  upon  a  hill  it  commanded  most 
lovely  views  of  the  city  and  the  silvery  Arno  at 
its  foot,  with  the  far-famed  Fiesole  beyond,  and 
of  beautiful  country  all  round. 

"  From  Tuscan  Bellosguardo, 
Where  Galileo  stood  at  nights  to  take 
The  vision  of  the  stars,  we  have  found  it  hard, 
Gazing  upon  the  earth  and  heavens,  to  make 
A  choice  of  beauty." 


Two  hundred  years  after,  the  villa  was  for  a 
time  (circa  1810)  the  residence  of  another  famous 
Italian,  Ugo  Foscolo,  the  poet  and  patriot-soldier 
of  the  stirring  times  in  Italy  during  the  Napoleonic 
period.  In  1835,  the  then  owner,  Amerigo  degli 

i624]        SISTER     MARIA    CELESTE          193 

Albizzi,  erected  on  the  north-west  front  of  the  house 
two  white  marble  tablets  (each  surmounted  by  a 
white  marble  bust)  with  long  inscriptions  com- 
memorative of  these  two  great  men.  The  bust 
of  our  philosopher,  showing  well  his  peculiar  nose, 
is  the  work  of  the  Florentine  sculptor  Emilio 
Demi ;  and  the  inscription  is  from  the  pen  of 
Vincenzio  Antinori,  then  Director  of  the  Museum 
of  Natural  History,  Florence.1 

For  nearly  seven  years  after  taking  the  veil  we 
lose  sight  of  Galileo's  daughters.  We  left  them 
as  children  of  sixteen ;  we  are  now  to  meet  them 
as  women.  Sister  Arcangela,  the  younger,  we 
shall  not  like ;  but  Virginia,  or  Sister  Maria 
Celeste,  as  we  must  henceforth  call  her,  we  shall 
learn  to  love.  All  we  know  of  this  charming 
personality  is  told  in  her  letters  to  her  father. 
The  first  is  dated  loth  May  1623,  but  Professor 
Favaro  thinks  there  must  have  been  many  previous 
ones  which  are  now  lost.  However  this  may  be, 
those  that  remain,  one  hundred  and  twenty-four 
in  number,  show  that  there  was  a  close  intimacy 
and  affection  between  father  and  daughter,  and 
that  these  relations  grew  in  intensity  with  the 
daughter's  maturing  years.  If  they  did  not  write 
they  must  have  often  met,  for  Galileo's  house  at 
Bellosguardo  was  a  pleasant  half-hour's  walk 
along  a  charming  road  from  the  convent  of  San 

1  For  the  inscription  see  Albert's  ed.  of  Galileo's  works,  vol.  xv. 
p.  394.  The  house  is  now  known  as  Villa  POmbrellino,  and  is  occupied 
by  the  Russian  General,  Alexis  Zouboflj  who  kindly  allows  visitors 
to  see  these  interesting  memorials.  The  villa  is  entered  from  the 
Piazza  Bellosguardo,  where  one  sees  on  a  house  in  front  a  marble 
slab  intimating  that  Garibaldi  and  Mario  lived  there. 


j94  GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

Matteo.  In  no  other  way  than  on  the  supposition 
of  a  previous  intimacy  of  a  close  personal  kind 
can  we  account  for  the  affection  which  bursts 
forth  in  the  first  letter  we  possess,  and  overflows 
through  all  of  them  to  the  end.  This  affection 
must  have  been,  as  indeed  we  shall  see  it  was, 
a  great  comfort  and  consolation  to  Galileo,  sorely 
tried  as  he  was  by  frequent  illness,  by  the  worries 
and  ingratitude  of  all  the  rest  of  his  family,  and 
by  the  persecution  of  the  outside  world. 

His  letters  to  his  daughter,  though  we  know 
that  she  kept  them,  and  was  in  the  habit  of 
re-reading  them  during  such  leisure  moments  as 
her  duties  left  to  her,  have  unfortunately  dis- 
appeared. It  is  probable  that  these  letters  so 
treasured  by  the  daughter  were  destroyed  at  her 
death,  lest  the  convent  should  be  compromised 
by  their  presence  among  its  archives — an  action 
which,  however  much  we  may  regret  it,  we 
cannot  blame,  as  we  must  remember  that  when 
Maria  Celeste  died  in  1634  her  father  was  a 
prisoner  of  the  Inquisition,  vehemently  suspected 
of  heresy. 

We  can,  however,  generally  guess  the  contents 
of  these  lost  letters,  by  the  answers,  which,  thanks 
to  her  father's  loving  care,  have  been  preserved 
to  us.  In  these,  Sister  Maria  Celeste  emerges 
from  behind  the  convent  grating ;  she  lifts  the 
veil  which  envelops  her,  and  shows  us  a  woman's 
heart  full  of  filial  tenderness,  of  self-abasement, 
and  of  interest  in  some  things  of  that  world  she 
had  renounced  in  her  childhood.  We  see  this 
heart  of  hers  often  pierced  with  sorrow,  and  always 

i634]        SISTER     MARIA    CELESTE          195 

divided  between  love  and  fear — love  for  her  father, 
and  fear  of  impending  evil  to  him. 

Besides  the  father-worship  which  glows  in  every 
page,  these  letters  bear  evidence  throughout  of 
sound  sense  and  sober  judgment,  joined  to  a 
simple  piety.  There  is  not  a  trace  of  mysticism 
in  them ;  there  is  no  mention  of  minute  practices 
of  devotion ;  she  does  not  pass  her  nights  in  the 
chapel,  kneeling  on  cold  stones  and  expecting 
visions ;  she  goes  to  bed  like  a  sensible  woman, 
and  takes  her  seven  hours'  sleep ;  she  regrets 
sometimes  that  her  constitution  should  require  so 
much  sleep,  but  only  because  she  would  like 
better  to  sit  up  and  write  long  letters  to  her 
"  Dearest  Lord  and  Father."  Of  her  Heavenly 
Father  she  discourses  much  ;  of  the  Virgin  seldom  ; 
and  we  hear  of  no  patron  saint.  The  nuns,  she 
tells  us,  have  each  their  patron  saint — their  Devote 
to  whom  they  tell  all  their  little  joys  and  sorrows ; 
but  she  has  her  father  to  confide  in  and  therefore 
wants  no  Devoto. 

Around  this  loving  and  lovable  nun  the  other 
sisters  stand — a  group  of  shadows  with  a  name 
attached  to  each.  Some  flit  by,  once  mentioned — 
sisters  these,  but  not  friends ;  a  few  come  before 
us  more  often,  Sister  Luisa  Bocchineri  in  particular, 
who  was  Maria  Celeste's  bosom  friend,  and  a  sister 
of  her  brother  Vincenzio's  future  wife.  Her  own 
sister  Livia  appears  as  little  more  than  a  shadow, 
and  what  we  see  of  her  inclines  us,  perhaps,  to 
some  pity,  but  to  little  love.  Her  disposition  seems 
to  have  been  decidedly  selfish,  and  her  sister  had 
to  give  up  to  her  a  great  deal  for  the  sake  of  peace. 

196  GALILEO     IN     FLORENCE       [1617 

"  As  Sister  Arcangela's  disposition/'  she  writes, 
"is  very  different  from  mine,  being  rather  odd  and 
whimsical,  it  is  better  for  me  to  give  up  to  her  in 
many  things,  in  order  to  preserve  that  peace  and 
unity  which  accord  with  the  exceeding  love  we  bear 
each  other." 

We  further  learn  that  Arcangela  was  subject 
to  frequent  fits  of  hypochondria,  and  that  she  was 
constantly  ailing.  Indeed,  ill-health  seemed  to  be 
more  the  rule  than  the  exception  at  San  Matteo. 
Maria  Celeste  herself  was  far  from  being  always 
well ;  sometimes  she,  sometimes  another  sister, 
sometimes  half  the  convent  was  down  with  fever ; 
and  rheumatism  was  frequently  complained  of. 

For  the  next  ten  years  of  Galileo's  life  and 
the  rest  of  her  own  (1623-34),  we  shall  be 
constantly  in  touch  with  this  exquisite  woman, 
in  extracts  from  her  letters,  and  the  more  we  see 
of  her  the  more  we  shall  love  her.1 

On  the  election  of  Cardinal  Barberini  to  the 
Papacy  as  Urban  VIIL,  Galileo  conceived  the  idea 
of  going  to  Rome  to  offer  his  congratulations  in 
person,  and  to  use  his  influence  with  the  new 
Pope  to  obtain,  at  least,  toleration  for  the  Coperni- 
can  doctrines,  now  no  longer  opposed  by  the 
weighty  influence  of  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  who  had 
died  two  years  before.  Remembering  the  warmth 
of  Barberinis  letters  while  Cardinal,  Galileo  had 
reason  to  hope  from  a  Pontiff  so  enlightened  at 

1  We  can  only  give  extracts  from  a  few  of  these  letters.  The 
reader  will  find  them  more  fully  reported  in  Mrs  Olney^s  "Private 
Life  of  Galileo " ;  while  to  those  who  can  read  them  in  the  original 
we  recommend  Professor  Favaro's  u  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste," 
Florence,  1891,  where  all  the  letters  are  given  in  full. 

i624]        SISTER    MARIA    CELESTE          197 

least  this  much  ;  while  as  regarded  himself,  he  felt 
that  he  must  have  permission  to  teach  the  new 
astronomical  doctrines,  not  merely  as  hypotheses 
but  as  actual  truths,  now  or  never ;  and  according 
as  his  desire  was  fulfilled  or  not,  so  would  his 
life-work  be  complete  or  incomplete. 

Knowing  her  father  to  be  an  object  of  ani- 
mosity in  so  many  quarters,  the  accession  of 
Urban  VIII.  was  a  cause  of  great  rejoicing  to 
Maria  Celeste,  and  having  been  favoured  with  a 
sight  of  the  Pope's  letters  when  Cardinal  to 
Galileo,  she  wrote  loth  August  1623,  when  re- 
turning them,  in  a  strain  of  eagerness : — 

"  I  cannot  describe  the  pleasure  with  which  I 
perused  the  letters  of  the  illustrious  Cardinal,  who 
is  now  our  Pope,  knowing  as  I  do  how  greatly 
he  loves  and  esteems  you.  I  have  read  the  letters 
several  times,  and  now  send  them  back  as  re- 
quested, having  shown  them  to  no  one  except 
Sister  Arcangela,  who  is  also  much  delighted  to 
see  how  greatly  you  are  favoured  by  such  an 
exalted  personage.  May  the  Lord  give  you 
health  to  fulfil  your  desire  of  visiting  his  Holi- 
ness, so  that  you  may  enjoy  a  still  greater  measure 
of  his  favour.  Seeing  how  many  promises  he 
makes  in  these  letters,  we  hope  that  you  will  easily 
get  something  to  help  our  brother.1  I  imagine  that 
by  this  time  you  will  have  written  a  beautiful  letter 
to  his  Holiness  to  congratulate  him,  and  as  I  feel 

1  Vincenzio.  Nothing  is  known  of  the  youth  of  Galileo's  son.  In 
the  first  years  after  his  arrival  in  Florence  in  1612,  he  probably  lodged 
with  his  uncle,  Landucci,  at  least  during  his  father's  frequent  absences. 
On  25th  June  1619,  he  was  legitimated  by  Grand-Ducal  decree,  and 
not  long  before  the  time  of  Maria  Celeste's  writing,  he  was  sent  to 
Pisa,  under  the  care  of  Father  Castelli,  to  study  law. 

198  GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

curious  about  it,  I  should  like  very  much  (if  you  do 
not  object)  to  see  a  copy/' 

Poor  simple  soul !  She  had  not  perceived  the 
distance  between  her  father,  Philosopher  and  First 
Mathematician  to  a  Grand  Duke,  and  Maffeo  Bar- 
berini,  the  Pope  of  Rome.  Her  father  must  have 
written  at  once  to  enlighten  her  on  the  degrees 
of  comparison,  for,  in  her  reply  of  three  days 
later,  she  confesses  her  ignorance  with  touching 
humility : — 

"  From  your  beloved  letter  I  see  how  little 
knowledge  of  the  world  I  must  possess  to  have 
thought  as  I  did  that  you  would  write  immediately 
to  such  a  personage — to  one  who  is,  in  fact,  the 
head  of  Christendom.  I  therefore  thank  you 
for  the  hint  you  have  given  me,  and  feel  sure 
that  your  love  for  me  will  induce  you  to  excuse 
my  ignorance  as  well  as  many  other  faults  that  I 
possess.  I  trust  that  always  warned  and  reproved 
by  you  I  may  gain  in  knowledge  and  discretion. 

"  Since  we  are  not  able  to  see  you  in  con- 
sequence of  your  lingering  indisposition,  we  must 
patiently  resign  ourselves  to  the  Lord's  will,  Who 
permits  all  things  for  our  good. 

"  I  put  by  carefully  the  letters  you  write  me 
daily,  and  when  not  engaged  with  my  duties  I 
read  them  over  and  over  again.  This  is  the 
greatest  pleasure  I  have ;  and  you  may  think  how 
glad  I  am  to  read  the  letters  you  receive  from 
persons  who,  besides  being  excellent  in  them- 
selves, have  you  in  esteem/' 

A  few  days  after,  the  convent  steward,  who 
had  been  sent  with  a  message  to  the  villa  at 
Bellosguardo,  brought  back  the  alarming  news 

1624]  GALILEO    ILL  199 

that  Galileo  was  ill,  and  in  Florence.  Fearing 
that  the  illness  might  be  more  serious  than  usual, 
she  packed  off  the  steward  again  to  the  city  to 
see  him,  and  learn  from  himself  the  state  of  his 
health.  She  says  in  the  affectionate  little  note 
of  which  the  steward  was  bearer,  that  she  never 
regrets  being  a  nun,  except  when  her  dear  father 
is  ill,  because  then  she  would  like  to  be  with 
him.  Galileo's  illness  seems  to  have  been  serious, 
for  four  days  later  (aist  August)  we  find  her 
writing  again,  and  sending  as  an  excuse  a  few 
biscuits  baked  in  a  mould  representing  a  fish. 
The  truth  is,  as  she  confesses  in  her  note,  she 
wants  the  steward  to  see  her  father,  and  learn 
his  condition  from  his  own  lips,  evidently  placing 
little  reliance  on  messages  given  by  those  around 
him.  On  28th  August  she  wrote  again,  expressing 
her  grief  at  hearing  that  there  was  no  improve- 
ment. She  sent  him  a  little  present  of  four 
plums  with  the  hope  that,  as  they  were  not  in 
as  great  perfection  as  she  could  wish,  he  would 
take  the  will  for  the  deed.  She  then  goes  on  to 
say  : — 

"  Please  remember  that  when  you  get  an 
answer  from  those  gentlemen  in  Rome,  you  have 
promised  me  a  sight  of  it.  I  say  nothing  of  the 
other  letters  you  promised  to  send  me,  as  I  sup- 
pose they  are  at  the  villa  at  Bellosguardo." 

By  the  end  of  August,  Galileo,  though  still  far 
from  well,  was  able  to  resume  his  correspondence, 
and  on  returning  to  his  villa  he  sent  her  the  letters 
she  wished  to  see,  also  some  thread  and  other 
trifles  that  she  wanted. 

200  GALILEO    IN    FLORENCE       [1617- 

Feeiing  his  time  and  strength  unequal  to  the 
literary  demands  upon  them,  he  now  seems  to  have 
begun  to  utilise  his  daughter's  clear  handwriting 
when  he  wished  to  have  copies  of  particular  letters 
or  papers.  Thus,  in  a  note  of  this  period,  returning 
such  a  paper,  she  hopes  that  he  will  think  the  copy 
well  done,  as  then,  perhaps,  he  will  let  her  copy 
some  more,  reminding  him  that  to  be  occupied  in 
his  service  is  her  great  pleasure  and  contentment. 

With  improving  health,  Galileo  began  to  think 
it  was  time  to  prepare  for  his  journey  to  Rome,  and 
he  wrote  to  some  of  his  friends  to  sound  them  on 
the  project  To  Prince  Cesi  he  wrote,  9th  October 

**  I  have  in  my  head  plans  of  no  small  impor- 
tance for  the  learned  world,  and  perhaps  can  never 
hope  for  so  wonderful  a  combination  of  circum- 
stances as  the  present  to  ensure  their  success,  at 
least  so  far  as  I  am  able  to  conduce  to  it." 

Prince  Cesi  replied  : — 

"  Under  the  auspices  of  this  most  excellent, 
learned,  and  benignant  Pontiff",  science  must  flourish. 
.  .  .  Your  arrival  will  be  welcome  to  his  Holiness. 
He  asked  me  if  you  were  coming,  and  when,  and, 
in  short,  seems  to  love  and  esteem  you  more  than 

Tommaso  Rinuccini,  to  whom  Galileo  also 
wrote,  replying  2Oth  October,  said : — 

"  I  swear  to  you  that  nothing  pleased  his 
Holiness  so  much  as  the  mention  of  your  name. 
After  I  had  been  speaking  of  you  for  some  time, 
I  told  him  that  you  had  an  ardent  desire  to  come 

1624]      PROPOSED  VISIT  TO  ROME        201 

and  kiss  his  toe,  if  his  Holiness  would  permit  it,  to 
which  he  replied  that  it  would  give  him  great 
pleasure  if  it  were  not  inconvenient  to  you,  and  if 
the  journey  would  not  be  injurious  to  your  health, 
for  great  men  like  you,  he  said,  must  spare  them- 
selves so  that  they  may  live  as  long  as  possible." 

Mgr.  Ciampoli  and  other  friends  also  wrote  in 
the  same  confident  strain. 

These  replies,  as  gratifying  as  reassuring, 
Galileo  appears  to  have  sent  to  Maria  Celeste  for 
her  perusal,  as  in  her  letters  of  October  (1623) 
she  refers  to  them.  Amongst  a  great  deal  about 
Arcangela's  illnesses,  and  repairs  that  she  had 
been  making  to  her  father's  linen,  and  her  brother's 
collars  she  writes  (2Oth  October) : 

"  I  return  the  letters  you  sent  me  to  read. 
They  are  so  beautiful  that  my  desire  to  see  more 
of  them  is  greatly  increased." 

Again,  on  2gth  October,  she  writes : — 

"  I  leave  you  to  imagine  how  pleased  I  am  to 
read  the  letters  you  constantly  send  me.  Only  to 
see  how  your  love  for  me  prompts  you  to  let  me 
know  fully  what  favours  you  receive  from  these 
gentlemen  is  enough  to  fill  me  with  joy.  Never- 
theless, I  feel  it  a  little  hard  to  hear  that  you  intend 
leaving  home  so  soon,  because  I  shall  have  to  do 
without  you,  and  for  a  long  time  too,  if  I  am  not 
mistaken.  Your  lordship  may  believe  that  I  am 
speaking  the  truth  when  I  say  that  except  you 
there  is  not  a  creature  who  gives  me  any  comfort. 
But  I  will  not  grieve  at  your  departure  because 
of  this,  for  that  would  be  to  complain  when  you 
had  cause  for  rejoicing.  Therefore,  I  too  will 

202  GALILEO     IN     FLORENCE       [1617- 

rejoice,  and  continue  to  pray  God  to  give  you 
health  to  make  a  prosperous  journey,  so  that  you 
may  return  satisfied,  and  live  long  and  happily. 
Although  I  know  it  is  not  necessary  for  me  to 
do  so,  yet  I  recommend  our  poor  brother  to  your 
kindness,  and  I  entreat  you  to  forgive  him  his 
fault  in  consideration  of  his  youth,  and  which, 
seeing  it  is  the  first,  merits  pardon.  I  do  beg  and 
entreat  you  to  take  him  to  Rome  with  you,  where 
opportunities  will  not  be  wanting  to  give  him 
that  assistance  which  paternal  duty  and  your 
natural  kindness  will  prompt  you  to  seek  out/' 

Vincenzio  was  then  seventeen.  What  the 
escapade  was  which  brought  him  into  disgrace 
we  are  not  told.  And,  unfortunately,  this  was 
not  the  only  time  that  his  sister  had  to  intercede 
for  him.  In  disposition  this  young  man  would  seem 
to  have  resembled  his  uncle,  Michelangelo.  Years 
brought  him  no  discretion.  Wayward,  selfish,  idle, 
with  a  great  capacity  for  spending  money  he  had 
not  earned,  this  only  son  was  a  constant  thorn  in 
his  father's  side.  Castelli,  who  looked  after  him 
at  Pisa  with  paternal  solicitude,  even  to  the  buy- 
ing of  his  shoes  and  stockings,  had  to  complain 
of  his  mulish  obstinacy.  A  fault  confessed  was 
half  atoned  for,  the  good  Father  thought,  and  he 
strove  hard  to  bring  him  to  confession,  assuring 
him  that  no  punishment  should  follow.  "  But  he 
is  as  hard  as  a  stone,  and  one  would  think  he  was 
struck  dumb  by  enchantment.  As  for  me  I  am 
in  utter  despair  about  him." 

Maria  Celeste  had  been  busy  working  at  her 
father's  new  set  of  dinner-napkins  which  had  been 
cut  too  short,  and  must  have  pieces  added ;  and 

i624]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  203 

not  having  heard  from  him  for  nearly  a  month, 
she  was  getting  very  anxious,  On  2ist  November 
she  wrote : — 

"  I  cannot  rest  any  longer  without  news,  both 
for  the  infinite  love  I  bear  you,  and  for  fear  lest 
this  sudden  cold,  which  generally  disagrees  so 
much  with  you,  should  have  caused  a  return  of 
your  old  pains  and  other  complaints.  I  therefore 
send  the  man,  who  takes  the  letter  purposely, 
to  hear  how  you  are  and  also  when  you  expect 
to  set  out  on  your  journey,  ...  As  I  have  no 
bedroom  of  my  own,  Sister  Diamante  kindly 
allows  me  to  share  hers,  depriving  herself  of  the 
company  of  her  own  sister  for  my  sake.  But 
the  room  is  so  bitterly  cold  that,  with  my  head 
in  the  state  in  which  it  is  at  present,  I  do  not 
know  how  I  shall  remain,  unless  you  can  help 
me  by  lending  me  a  set  of  those  white  bed-hangings 
which  you  will  not  want  now. 

"  Moreover,  I  beg  you  to  be  so  kind  as  to  send 
me  that  book  of  yours  which  has  just  been 
published  [*  II  Saggiatore '],  so  that  I  may  read 
it,  for  I  have  a  great  desire  to  see  it. 

"  These  few  cakes  I  send  are  some  I  made  a 
few  days  ago,  intending  to  give  them  to  you  when 
you  came  to  bid  us  adieu.  As  now  your  departure 
is  not  so  near  as  we  feared,  I  send  them  lest  they 
should  get  dry. 

"  Sister  Arcangela  is  still  under  medical  treat- 
ment and  is  much  tried  by  the  remedies.  I  am 
not  well  myself,  but  being  so  accustomed  to  ill- 
health  I  do  not  think  much  of  it. 

"P.S. — You  can  send  us  any  collars  that  want 
getting  up." 




LONG  delayed,  first  by  illness  and  then  by  bad 
weather,  whole  tracts  of  country  being  under 
water,  Galileo  at  length  set  out  for  Rome  ist 
April  1624.  Reaching  Acquasparta  on  5th  April, 
he  stayed  a  fortnight  with  his  friend  Prince  Cesi, 
and  arrived  in  Rome  on  the  23rd,  provided  with  a 
warm  letter  of  recommendation  from  the  Grand 
Duchess  Cristina  to  her  son  Cardinal  de  Medici. 
From  Acquasparta  he  wrote  to  his  daughter, 
telling  her  of  the  flattering  reception  he  had  met 
with  from  Prince  Cesi,  who  was  able  to  assure  him 
that  his  presence  in  Rome  was  anxiously  awaited 
"  by  great  personages."  On  the  other  hand  he  was 
grieved  to  hear  of  the  sudden  death  of  Mgr. 
Cesarini,  a  warm  friend  whom  he  had  both  loved 
and  honoured.  This  event,  as  Maria  Celeste 
reminds  her  father  (26th  April),  "gives  food 
for  reflection  on  the  vanity  and  fallacy  of  all  earthly 
hopes";  but  she  timidly  adds,  "  I  would  not  have 
you  think  that  I  write  only  to  sermonise  you,  there- 
fore I  will  say  no  more." 

All  the  world  of  Rome  was  aware  of  the  favour 

1624-1629]    RESULT    OF   VISIT    TO    ROME    205 

in  which  the  Pope  held  Galileo.  His  old  friends, 
therefore,  received  him  with  greater  delight  than 
ever,  and  his  enemies  dared  only  to  clench  their 
fists  behind  his  back.  His  letters  express  the  great 
satisfaction  which  his  reception  afforded  him ;  but 
as  regarded  the  object  which  was  nearest  his  heart 
he  was  not  so  satisfied.  Within  six  weeks  he  had 
had  six  long  interviews  with  Urban  VIII.,  had 
always  been  most  affably  received,  and  was  allowed 
to  bring  forward  all  his  arguments  in  support  of 
the  Copernican  theory  ;  but  all  to  no  purpose ;  the 
Pope  listened  to  his  arguments,  but  would  not  grant 
his  earnest  entreaties  for,  at  least,  a  passive  tolera- 
tion of  the  new  doctrines. 

As  soon  as  the  Pope's  attitude  became  known, 
Galileo's  clerical  friends  had  to  be  cautious,  and 
avoided  as  far  as  possible  all  reference  to  the  pro- 
hibited doctrines.  One  of  these,  Father  Niccolo 
Riccardi,  at  once  took  his  seat  on  the  fence. 

"  As  to  the  truth  or  falsity  of  the  theory/'  wrote 
Galileo  to  Cesi  on  8th  June,  "he  accepts  neither 
Ptolemy  nor  Copernicus,  but  quiets  his  soul  in  a  very 
speedy  manner.  He  sets  angels  to  work  at  moving 
the  heavenly  bodies,  and  these  make  them  go  as  they 
do  go  (however  that  may  be)  without  the  slightest 
difficulty  or  entanglement!  Certainly  this  ought  to 
be  enough  for  us ! " 

Finding  that  his  efforts  to  get  the  decree  of 
5th  March  1616  revoked  were  of  no  avail,  Galileo 
resolved  with  a  heavy  heart  to  return  home,  after 
a  six  weeks'  stay  in  Rome.  On  the  eve  of  his 
departure,  the  Pope  loaded  him  with  favours  which 
must  have  seemed  to  him  like  mockeries.  His 

206        FOURTH    VISIT    TO    ROME      [1624- 

Holiness  promised  him  a  pension  for  his  son,1  and 
three  days  after  sent  a  picture  for  himself;  then 
two  medals — one  of  gold  and  one  of  silver,  and 
quite  a  number  of  Agnus  Dei !  Not  content  with 
these  marks  of  favour,  he  addressed  an  official  letter 
(Breve)  to  the  Grand  Duke,  8th  June,  in  which,  to 
the  no  small  chagrin  of  Galileo's  enemies,  his 
Holiness  not  only  did  full  justice  to  our  philo- 
sopher's services  to  science,  "the  fame  of  which 
will  shine  on  earth  so  long  as  Jupiter  and  his 
satellites  shine  in  heaven,"  but  laid  special  stress  on 
his  religious  sentiments  : — 

"  We  have,"  he  said,  "  observed  in  him  not  only 
literary  distinction,  but  love  of  religion,  and  all 
good  qualities  worthy  of  the  Papal  favour.  When 
he  came  to  congratulate  us  on  our  accession  we 
embraced  him  affectionately  and  listened  with 
pleasure  to  his  learned  demonstrations,  which  add 
fresh  renown  to  Florentine  eloquence.  We  desire 
that  he  should  not  return  to  his  native  country 
without  receiving  from  our  generosity  manifold 
proofs  of  our  favour.  And  that  you  may  fully 
understand  to  what  extent  he  is  dear  to  us,  we 
give  this  honourable  testimony  to  his  virtue  and 
piety.  And,  further,  we  assure  you  that  we  shall 
thank  you  for  any  kindness  that  you  can  show 
him ;  and  by  imitating,  or  even  surpassing,  our 
fatherly  liberality,  you  will  add  to  our  gratification/1 

Fruitless  as  was  his  journey  to  Rome  as  re- 

1  The  pension  of  60  crowns  was  granted  on  2Oth  March  1627,  but 
owing  to  the  religious  exercises  attached  to  it,  Vincenzio  would  not 
accept  it  It  was  then  transferred  to  a  nephew,  but  as  he  proved  un- 
worthy, it  was  finally  settled  on  Galileo  himself,  on  I2th  February  1630, 
with  an  increase  of  40  crowns,  but  with  the  condition  that,  as  it  was 
derived  from  ecclesiastical  benefices,  he  should  adopt  the  tonsure — to 
which  he  is  said  to  have  consented.  He  drew  the  pension  thus 
strangely  obtained  to  the  end  of  his  life. 

1629]    INVENTION   OF  MICROSCOPE    207 

garded  the  grand  object  of  his  life — the  emancipa- 
tion of  the  Copernican  theory — Galileo  was  yet  able 
to  do  something  for  the  advancement  of  science. 
He  improved,  if  he  did  not  invent,  the  microscope. 
The  principle  of  the  telescope  and  the  micro- 
scope is  to  the  mathematical  optician  one  and  the 
same.  The  former  is  merely  made  to  collect 
parallel  rays  from  distant  objects;  the  latter, 
diverging  rays  from  near  objects.  The  invention 
of  the  one,  therefore,  could  hardly  fail  to  follow 
immediately  upon  the  other ;  and  accordingly  we 
learn  that,  very  soon  after  inventing  the  telescope, 
Galileo  adapted  it  for  the  examination  of  small 
objects.  John  Wedderburn,  a  Scotch  student  at 
Padua,  in  a  defence  of  his  master  (published  in 
1610)  against  the  calumnies  of  Martin  Horky  (see 
p.  1 06  ante),  states  that  he  heard  Galileo  describe 
in  what  manner  he  perfectly  distinguishes  with 
his  telescope  the  organs  of  motion  and  of  the 
senses  of  the  smaller  animals,  especially  in  a 
certain  insect,  which  has  each  eye  covered  by  a 
rather  thick  membrane,  which,  perforated  with 
seven  holes,  like  the  visor  of  a  warrior,  allows  it 

"  Here  hast  thou,"  he  continues,  "a  new  proof 
that  the  glass  concentrating  its  rays  enlarges  the 
object.  In  other  animals  of  the  same  size,  and 
even  smaller,  some  of  which  have,  nevertheless, 
brighter  eyes,  these  appear  only  double,  with  their 
eyebrows  and  the  other  adjacent  parts." 

In  1614,  the  Frenchman  Tarde,  Canon  of  the 
Cathedral  of  Sarlat  (Dordogne),  was  travelling  in 
Italy,  and  on  arriving  at  Florence  called  on  Galileo, 

208        FOURTH    VISIT    TO     ROME      [1624- 

whom  he  found  ill  in  bed.     Amongst  other  reports 
of  this  meeting  Tarde  says  : — 

''Galileo  told  me  that  the  tube  of  a  telescope 
for  observing  the  stars  is  no  more  than  2  feet 
in  length ;  but  to  see  well  objects,  which  are  very 
near,  and  which  on  account  of  their  small  size 
are  hardly  visible  to  the  naked  eye,  the  tube  must 
have  two  or  three  lengths.  He  tells  me  that  with 
this  long  tube  he  has  seen  flies  which  look  as  big 
as  a  lamb,  are  covered  all  over  with  hair,  and 
have  very  pointed  nails,  by  means  of  which  they 
keep  themselves  up  and  walk  on  glass,  although 
hanging  feet  upwards,  by  inserting  the  points  of 
their  nails  in  the  pores  of  the  glass."1 

In  "II  Saggiatoren  there  is  a  further  reference 
to  a  telescope  arranged  so  that  one  can  see  very 
near  objects  very  distinctly,  even  to  the  most 
minute  particles ;  and,  finally,  Viviani,  in  his  "  Vita 
dl  Galileo,"  and  in  the  laudatory  inscriptions  which 
he  placed  on  the  front  of  his  house  in  Florence2 
in  1693,  records  as  a  fact  that  Galileo  presented 
a  microscope  to  the  King  of  Poland  in  1612. 
All  this  goes  to  show  that  he  was  well  acquainted 
with  the  uses  of  his  invention  qua  microscope, 
and  that  he  did  not  dwell  upon  them,  or  pursue 
them  to  greater  length,  is,  no  doubt,  because  his 
thoughts  were  wholly  absorbed  on  its  perfection 
as  a  telescope,  and  on  the  glorious  field  of  astro- 
nomical discovery  which  it  laid  open  to  him. 
Certain  it  is,  that  for  many  years  he  gave  the 

1  See  Favaro's  "  Di  Giovanni  Tarde  e  di  Una  Sua  Visita  a  Galileo  " 
{Bulkttino  di  Bibliografia  e  di  Storia  delle  Sdenze  Matematiche  e 
Fisickt)  Rome,  July  1887).  A  diagram  of  a  microscope  is  reproduced 
from  a  contemporary  MS.  in  the  National  Library,  Florence. 

*  Now  No.  9  Vk  San  Antonino,  formerly  Via  dell7  Amore. 

1629]    INVENTION   OF  MICROSCOPE    209 

matter  little  attention — not  until  his  visit  to  Rome 
of  which  we  are  now  speaking,  and  when  he 
found  the  microscope  discussed  as  a  novelty  which 
nobody  could  understand. 

We  have  seen  in  our  account  of  the  invention 
of  the  telescope  that  Jansen,  the  optician  of 
Middleburg,  invented  a  form  of  microscope  about 
1590,  in  which  objects  were  seen  inverted.  One 
of  these  instruments  he  presented  to  the  Archduke 
Charles  Albert  of  Austria,  who  in  turn  gave  it  to 
Cornelius  Drebbel,  a  Dutchman,  then  living  in 
London.  For  many  years  after,  the  instrument 
was  practically  forgotten;  but  about  1621,  Drebbel 
appears  to  have  resumed  its  manufacture  in 

In  the  following  year  Jacob  Kuffler,  a  relative 
of  Drebbel,  brought  a  specimen  to  Rome,  a  present 
from  M.  de  Peiresc  of  Paris  to  one  of  the  Cardinals. 
From  the  letter  which  accompanied  it,  dated  7th 
June  1622,  we  take  the  following  passage: — 

"Your  Lordship  will  receive  the  present  letter 
from  the  hand  of  Signor  G.  Kuffler  of  Cologne. 
He  will  be  able  to  show  you  an  occhiale  or  telescope 
of  a  new  invention  (different  from  that  of  Galileo), 
with  which  he  shows  a  flea  as  large  as  a  cricket, 
and  almost  of  the  same  shape,  with  its  two  arms 
and  the  other  smaller  legs,  head,  and  almost  all 
the  body,  covered  with  crusts  or  scales,  like  crickets 
or  small  shrimps.  The  little  insects  which  generate 
in  cheese  become  as  large  as  flies,  and  are  so  dis- 
tinctly discerned  that  one  sees  them  to  have  very 
long  legs,  a  pointed  head,  and  every  part  of  the 
body  quite  distinct," 

Unfortunately,  Kuffler  died  before  he  had  time 

230        FOURTH    VISIT    TO    ROME      [1624- 

to  explain  the  management  of  the  instrument,  and 
so  it  remained  a  mystery.  Two  years  later,  after 
many  accidents  and  delays,  two  other  specimens 
arrived,  also  sent  by  de  Peiresc  with  brief  in- 
structions as  to  their  use.  Apparently  one  was 
little  more  than  a  magnifying  glass,  which  it  was 
easy  to  understand ;  but  of  the  other  and  larger, 
consisting  of  two  glasses,  nobody  in  Rome  could 
make  anything,  "  although  they  had  the  help  of 

It  was  at  this  moment  that  Galileo  arrived. 
The  instrument  was  shown  to  him,  and,  as  may 
be  imagined,  a  very  brief  study  told  him  not  only 
how  to  use  it  but  how  to  improve  upon  it.  He 
at  once  told  his  friends  that  he  had  himself  made 
a  somewhat  similar  instrument  many  years  pre- 
viously, "  which  magnifies  things  as  much  as 
50,000  times,  so  that  one  sees  a  fly  as  large 
as  a  hen."  He  quickly  made  some  specimens, 
showing  objects  erect,  which  he  sent  to  his 
friends,  and  soon  his  microscopes  were  in  as 
great  request  as  his  telescopes.  Amongst  others, 
he  sent  one  to  Prince  Cesi,  on  23rd  September 
1624,  with  the  following  interesting  letter : — 

"  I  send  your  Excellency  a  little  spy-glass 
(occhialino) 1  for  observing  at  close  quarters  the 
smallest  objects,  which  I  hope  will  afford  you  the 
same  interest  and  pleasure  that  it  does  to  myself. 
I  delayed  sending  it  because  my  first  specimens 
were  imperfect  by  reason  of  the  difficulty  in 

1  Galileo  usually  called  the  telescope  occhicde  or  cannocchiale ; 
and  now  he  calls  the  microscope  occhialino.  The  name  telescope  was 
first  suggested  by  Demisiani  in  1612,  and  microscope  by  Giovanni 
Faber  in  £pril  1625. 

i629]       GALILEO'S    MICROSCOPES         211 

fashioning  the  lenses.  The  object  is  placed  on 
a  movable  circle  (at  the  base  of  the  instrument) 
which  can  be  turned  in  such  a  way  as  to  show 
successive  portions,  a  single  pose  being  unable 
to  show  more  than  a  small  part  of  the  whole. 
As  the  distance  between  the  lens  and  the  object 
must  be  precisely  adjusted  in  order  to  see  things 
that  are  in  relief,  it  is  necessary  to  bring  the  glass 
nearer  to  or  farther  from  the  object,  according  to 
the  parts  to  be  examined.  Therefore  the  little 
tube  is  made  adjustable  on  its  stand  or  guide. 
The  instrument  should  be  used  in  a  strong  light, 
or  even  in  full  sunlight,  so  as  to  illuminate  the 
object  as  much  as  possible. 

"  I  have  examined  with  the  greatest  delight 
a  large  number  of  animals,  amongst  which  the 
bug  is  most  horrible,  the  gnat  and  the  moth  very 
beautiful  I  have  also  been  able  to  discover 
how  the  fly  and  other  little  animals  are  able  to 
walk  on  window  panes  and  ceilings  feet  upwards. 
But  your  Excellency  will  now  have  the  opportunity 
of  observing  thousands  of  other  details  of  the  most 
curious  kind,  of  which  I  shall  be  glad  to  have  an 
account  In  short,  one  may  contemplate  endlessly 
the  grandeur  of  Nature,  how  subtilely  she  works, 
and  with  what  unspeakable  diligence. 

"  JP.S. — The  little  tube  is  in  two  pieces,  so  that 
you  may  lengthen  it  or  shorten  it  at  pleasure." l 

Soon  after  his  return  to  Florence,  Galileo  began 
to  draw  up  a  reply  to  an  attack  on  the  Copernican 
theory  which  had  been  addressed  to  him  in  1616 
by  Francesco  Ingoli,  then  a  lawyer  at  Ravenna, 
and  afterwards  secretary  of  the  Propaganda  in 
Rome.  Coming  at  the  time  of  his  first  encounter 

1  The  only  relic  of  these  instruments  now  in  existence  is  pre- 
served in  the  Tribuna  di  Galileo,  Florence.  The  lenses  are 

212  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE         [1624- 

with  the  Inquisition,  Galileo  wisely  refrained  from 
answering  it  then.  In  1618  an  answer  was  pub- 
lished from  the  pen  of  that  other  Corypheus  of 
science,  Kepler,  in  his  "  Epitome  of  the  Copernican 
Astronomy/'1  but  Ingoli  did  not  consider  himself 
beaten,  and  rejoined  in  a  letter  addressed  to  a 
high  official  of  the  Papal  Court.  Now,  after  the 
lapse  of  eight  years,  Galileo  thought  that,  protected 
by  the  favour  of  Urban  VII L,  he  might  himself 
venture  on  a  reply ;  for  although  there  was  no 
hope  of  a  public  revocation  of  the  decree  of  5th 
March  1616,  he  thought,  and  his  correspondents  in 
Rome  were  of  the  same  opinion,  that  the  prohibi- 
tion would  not  be  rigidly  enforced  against  him. 

In  this  defence  of  the  Copernican  theory,  he 
professes  to  be  actuated  by  a  double  motive.  On 
the  one  hand  he  wishes  to  show  that,  as  he  had 
given  currency  to  it  before  it  was  condemned  by 
ecclesiastical  authority,  he  had  not  been  the 
expounder  of  an  improbable  or  unreasonable 
theory.  On  the  other  hand  he  wishes  to  prove 
to  the  Protestant  Copernicans  in  Germany  that 
the  views  of  their  great  countryman  had  not 
been  rejected  in  Catholic  Italy  from  a  disbelief 
of  their  probability,  but  "  from  reverence  for 
Holy  Scripture,  as  well  as  zeal  for  religion  and 
our  holy  faith."  After  this  strange  introduction, 
and  an  assurance  that  he  had  no  intention  of 
representing  the  forbidden  doctrine  as  true,  he 
proceeds  with  vigour  to  refute  all  Ingoli's 

1  This  work  was  placed  on  the  Index  Expurgatorius,  loth  ,March 
1619.    Galileo  had  to  smuggle  a  copy  into  Italy. 

1629]      POPE  AND  COPERNICANISM      213 

In  spite  of  his  diplomatic  preface,  his  friends 
in  Rome,  aware  of  the  watchfulness  of  his 
enemies,  advised  him  not  to  publish.  Galileo 
wisely  gave  heed  to  their  warnings,  and  so  the 
work  was  only  circulated  in  MS.  copies.  How- 
ever, several  passages  from  it  were  brought  under 
the  notice  of  the  Pope  by  Mgr.  Ciampoli,  and  we 
learn  from  a  letter  of  the  latter  to  Galileo,  28th 
December  1625,  that  his  Holiness  highly  approved 
them,1  This  to  Galileo  and  his  friends  was  a 
hopeful  sign.  Another  was  the  failure  of  the 
agitation  undertaken  (as  already  mentioned)  in 
the  same  year  against  "II  Saggiatore."  Father 
Grass!  ventured,  under  pretext  of  a  rejoinder  to 
that  work,  to  publish  a  fresh  attack  on  its  author 
full  of  spiteful  personalities  and  " arguments'*  of 
the  most  absurd  kind  Apparently  Grassi,  member 
though  he  was  of  the  powerful  Collegio  Romano, 
could  not  find  a  publisher  for  this  work  ("  Ratio 
Ponderum  Librae ")  in  Rome,  and  had  to  bring  it 
out  in  Paris  in  1626,  a  circumstance  which  Galileo 
interpreted  as  another  encouraging  sign  of  the 
times.  Again,  in  1624  in  a  conversation  on  the 
subject  with  the  Pope,  the  Cardinal  Zollern 
(prompted  by  Galileo)  represented  that  all  the 
heretics  of  Europe  considered  the  truth  of  the 
Copernican  doctrine  to  be  beyond  doubt,  and  that, 
therefore,  it  would  be  necessary  to  be  very  circum- 
spect in  coming  to  any  resolution  upon  it,  to  which 
his  Holiness  replied  that  the  Church  had  not  con- 

1  In  this  work  Galileo  announced  that  he  was  preparing  a  treatise 
on  the  Flux  and  Reflux  of  the  Tides,  based  on  the  hypothesis  of  the 
double  movement  of  the  earth. 

214  RETURN     TO     FLORENCE         [1624- 

demned  it ;  nor  was  it  to  be  condemned  as  heretical, 
but  only  as  rash ;  and  he  added,  that  there  was  no 
fear  of  any  one  undertaking  to  prove  that  it  must 
necessarily  be  true.  These  and  other  indications 
tended  to  confirm  Galileo  in  the  opinion  that,  under 
the  pontificate  of  Urban  VI I L,  the  advocates  of 
Copernicanism  had  little  to  fear,  provided  that 
the  defence  was  so  circumspectly  handled  as  not 
to  outrage  the  oft -mentioned  decree  of  5th 
March  1616. 

On  this  assumption  (unfortunately  a  mistaken 
one,  as  we  shall  see)  he  now,  1626,  resolved  to 
carry  out  the  great  work  which  he  had  long 
projected,  and  which,  from  the  vast  and  varied 
knowledge  it  displayed,  and  from  its  sparkling 
and  incisive  style,  was  to  meet  with  greater 
success  than  had  ever  been  attained  by  any 
scientific  work.  This  was  his  "  Dialogue  on 
the  Two  Principal  Systems  of  the  World." 

During  the  next  four  years,  1626-29,  Galileo 
was  almost  entirely  engaged  on  the  preparation 
of  this  great  work.  His  official  duties  as 
Philosopher  and  First  Mathematician  to  the 
Grand  Duke  did  not  take  up  much  of  his  time, 
and  his  scientific  correspondence  was  not  con- 
siderable 1 ;  but  his  work  was  sadly  interrupted 
by  frequently  recurring  illnesses,  and  as  much  so 
by  family  troubles  of  all  sorts  which  sorely  tried 
his  patience. 

1  During  this  period  he  appears  to  have  written  one  mathematical 
treatise  bearing  the  curious  title,  "  On  the  Estimation  of  the  Value  of 
a  Horse."  Here  may  also  be  noted,  though  the  date  is  uncertain,  his 
solution  of  a  problem  in  chances  (Sopra  le  scoperte  de  i  dadi).  This 
was  many  years  before  Pascal  and  Fermat  wrote  on  the  same  subject 

1629]         BEGINS     HIS     DIALOGUES        215 

From  the  paucity  of  his  daughter's  letters 
during  1625-26,  it  is  certain  he  often  went  to  see 
her  at  the  convent.  In  one  written  in  December 
1625  she  sends  her  " dearest  Lord  and  Father" 
two  baked  pears,  a  winter  rose  from  the  convent 
garden,  and  one  of  her  (frequent)  little  sermons 
on  the  care  of  his  health ;  in  another  she  sends 
Christmas  greetings,  and  more  collars  and  cuffs 
for  "our  Vincenzio."  Sister  Arcangela  (who  is 
often  ill)  is  better,  but  still  in  bed.  In  a  third 
little  note  she  fears  that  Vincenzio  is  angry  with 
her  because  she  delayed  sending  the  new  collars 
he  was  in  want  of.  Of  this  young  man  we  learn 
that  he  was  still  pursuing  his  studies  at  Pisa, 
and  spending  more  money  than  his  father  could 
afford,  Galileo  wrote  to  Castelli  (2 7th  December 

"For  the  future  he  is  to  be  content  with 
three  crowns  a  month  for  pocket-money.  With 
this  he  can  buy  plaster  figures,  pens,  paper,  or 
anything  he  likes,  and  he  may  consider  himself 
lucky  to  have  as  many  crowns  as  I,  at  his  age, 
had  groats." 

During  the  Carnival  season  of  1626,  Galileo, 
relieved  from  attendance  on  the  young  Grand 
Duke,1  remained  closeted  at  Bellosguardo,  ab- 
sorbed in  his  Dialogues.  Maria  Celeste  had 
not  seen  or  heard  from  him  for  some  time ;  the 
Carnival  passed  and  Lent  came,  but  no  Galileo. 
Then  she  gave  vent  to  her  disappointment  in 

1  Cosimo  II.,  Galileo's  old  pupil  and  good  friend,  died  in  1621. 
As  his  heir  was  then  only  ten  years  old,  the  government  was  carried 
on  by  Cosimo's  mother  jointly  with  his  widow  until  1627,  when  the 
son  assumed  power  as  Ferdinando  II. 

216  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE         [1624- 

words  ;  she  is  afraid  that,  in  spite  of  all  his  past 
kindness,  his  love  for  his  daughters  must  be  on 
the  wane,  since  he  has  left  off  coining.  This 
apparently  brought  him  to  the  convent,  and 
with  him  came,  as  a  peace-offering,  a  basket  of 
eatables,  rosemary,  and  citrons.  After  this, 
evidently,  he  was  regular  in  his  visits,  for  only 
two  letters  are  extant  belonging  to  this  period. 

In  the  spring  of  1627,  Maria  Celeste  was 
herself  really  ill  Self-denying  and  uncomplain- 
ing though  she  was,  the  coarse  convent  food 
was  so  unsuitable,  that  at  length  she  asked  for 
a  little  money  to  procure  such  comforts  as  were 
necessary  to  her  recovery,  The  bread  was  bad, 
the  wine  sour,  and  the  beef  uneatable  ;  therefore, 
if  there  happens  to  be  a  tough  old  hen  in  the 
poultry-yard  of  the  villa,  she  begs  she  may  have 
it  to  make  herself  some  broth. 

To  the  distractions  caused  by  his  own  chronic 
ill-health,  his  daughters'  frequent  illnesses,  and  the 
not  very  satisfactory  reports  of  his  son's  conduct 
at  Pisa,  were  now  to  be  added  the  worries  of 
his  invertebrate  brother  Michelangelo  and  his 
tribe  of  children. 

Since  the  death  of  their  mother  (loth  August 
1620),  the  brothers  communicated  but  little,  if  at 
all  We  have  seen  that  Galileo  had  no  reason 
to  be  pleased  with  his  brother's  behaviour  in 
money  matters ;  and  as  long  as  Michelangelo 
could  rub  on  without  his  brother's  aid,  he  had  no 
inducement  to  write.  Now,  however,  it  seems  to 
have  occurred  to  him  that,  after  years  of  a 
great  career,  the  friend  of  popes  and  princes 

1629]  FAMILY     AFFAIRS  217 

must  be  full  of  riches  as  well  as  of  honours ; 
the  honours  might  be  kept,  but  as  regarded  the 
riches,  they  ought  to  be  divided  amongst  the 
noble  family  of  the  Galilei,  of  which  he,  Michel- 
angelo, was  one,  and  as  good  as  his  brother, 
though  (of  course),  through  no  fault  of  his  own, 
he  was  less  fortunate.  If  long  ago  his  brother 
chose  to  cripple  himself  for  years  in  order  to 
pay  Michelangelo's  share  as  well  as  his  own  of 
their  sisters'  dowries,  that  was  Galileo's  own 
affair ;  besides  it  was  many  years  ago  and  could 
not  now  absolve  him  from  the  duty  of  paying  a 
share  of  his  brother's  expenses  in  the  bringing-up 
of  a  numerous  family  (only  seven !). 

The  letter  proposing  this  arrangement  is 
delicious.  Writing  to  Galileo,  5th  May  1627,  he 
proposes  sending  his  wife  Anna  Chiara  to  act  as 
his  brother's  housekeeper. 

"This  arrangement,"  he  says,  " would  be 
good  for  both  of  us.  Your  house  would  be  well 
and  faithfully  governed,  and  I  should  be  partly 
relieved  from  an  expense  which  I  do  not  know 
how  to  meet,  for  Chiara  would  take  some  of  the 
children  with  her,  who  would  be  an  amusement 
for  you  and  a  comfort  for  her.  I  do  not  suppose 
that  you  would  feel  the  expense  of  one  or  two 
mouths  more.  At  any  rate  they  will  not  cost 
you  more  than  those  you  have  about  you  now, 
who  are  not  so  near  akin,  and  probably  not  so 
much  in  need  of  help." 

In  reply  Galileo  offered  to  take  his  brother 
and  his  whole  family  and  maintain  them  "till 
Michelangelo  should  succeed  in  procuring  suitable 

2i8  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE         [1624- 

employnient  in  Florence.  Accordingly,  in  Sep- 
tember, they  came  to  Bellosguardo,  a  party  of 
eight — the  whole  tribe,  except  the  eldest  daughter 
left  behind  with  an  aunt,  who,  It  is  to  be  hoped, 
duly  appreciated  the  privilege  of  supporting  her. 
Early  in  January  1628,  Galileo  sent  the  eldest 
boy,  Vincenzio  (nineteen  years  old)  to  Rome  to 
study  music,  and  Castelli,  who  was  now  settled 
there  as  Mathematician  to  the  Pope,  kindly  took 
charge  of  him. 

Worn  out  with  mental  labour,  sleeplessness, 
and  the  daily  worries  of  a  wild  tribe  of  nephews 
and  nieces,  Galileo  fell  seriously  ill  again  in 
February  1628,  and  thinking  that  the  end  was 
near  he  recalled  his  son  from  Pisa,  and  sent  for 
his  brother-in-law  Landucci  to  be  reconciled  with 

On  hearing  of  his  convalescence,  Michelangelo, 
who  had  returned  to  Munich  only  a  few  days 
before  Galileo  fell  ill,  wrote  (5th  April  1628), 
expressing  his  joy  not  so  much  for  his  brother's 
recovery,  but  "from  what  I  know  of  our  brother- 
in-law,  I  tremble  to  think  what  would  have  become 
of  poor  Chiara  if  you  had  died!  "  "  I  think  now/' 
he  goes  on  to  say,  "that  with  your  good  leave 
I  shall  have  all  my  family  back,  for  I  do  not  wish 
them  to  be  in  danger  of  suffering  unkind  treatment 
one  of  these  days.  Meanwhile,  I  beg  that  you  will 

1  Their  relations  were  never  cordial.  Besides  the  old  and  long, 
standing  quarrel  over  the  payment  of  the  dowry,  Galileo  had  other 
grievances.  Thus,  in  1621  Landucci,  thinking  his  merits  not  properly 
valued  in  Florence,  quitted  his  country  for  a  lengthened  period  and 
left  his  wife  and  family  on  Galileo's  hands.  See  Favaro's  "  Galileo  e 
Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  pp.  146  and  159. 

1629]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  219 

see  to  it  that  your  servants  pay  Chiara  proper 
respect  and  obedience,  as  I  could  on  no  account 
suffer  her  to  be  maltreated." 

The  nephew,  Vincenzio,  had  not  been  many 
months  in  Rome  when  Galileo  began  to  receive  re- 
ports of  his  misconduct  Son  of  his  father,  vanity, 
idleness,  and  impertinence  were  the  least  of  his  fail- 
ings, and  all  Castelli's  fatherly  exhortations  were  lost 
upon  him.  The  pension  of  60  crowns  which  Urban 
VIII.  had  promised  to  settle  on  Galileo's  own  son 
was,  on  his  refusal  to  fulfil  the  necessary  conditions, 
to  be  transferred  to  this  nephew,  on  the  same  terms, 
but,  wrote  Castelli : — 

"  He  has  little  devotion  ;  my  words  enter  at  one 
ear  and  go  out  at  the  other.  He  wants  to  buy  a 
diamond  ring,  and  declares  that  he  is  neither  monk 
nor  nun,  and  will  have  none  of  my  sermons.  He  is 
obstinate,  impudent,  and  dissolute,  and  the  insolence 
of  his  demeanour  is  such  that  I  think  he  must  be 
mad  as  well  as  vicious." 

While  Castelli  was  writing  in  this  strain, 
Michelangelo  was  asking  .Galileo  to  pay  his  son's 
debts,  and  complaining  that  there  was  no  one 
in  all  Rome  capable  of  instructing  him  in  the 

"  Now  the  dear  child  will  forget  all  the  music  he 
has  learnt  at  Munich." 

"  If  you  really  mean,"  he  continues  in  his  letter 
of  8th  June,  "that  there  is  no  remedy  to  this 
disorder  except  my  taking  the  children  back  again, 
I  must  do  it,  even  if  I  go  to  Florence  on  foot 
What  my  troubles  are  nobody  knows.  You  may 
say  that  you  too  have  your  own  troubles ;  I  believe 

220  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE        [1624- 

you,  and  I  should  think  that  seeing  the  ruin  of 
these  unhappy  children  should  not  be  the  least  of 

He  whines  about  his  poverty  and  the  expenses 
of  a  house,  yet  he  would  not  economise  by  giving  it 
up,  because,  forsooth,  "  the  discomfort  of  lodgings 
would  be  unbearable."  Wines  In  beer-drinking 
Munich  were  a  luxury  and  dear,  yet  he  must  have 
good  wine  "for  his  health's  sake." 

When  at  last  Vincenzio  had  been  sent  away 
from  Rome  for  his  misdeeds,  Michelangelo  re- 
quested his  brother  to  keep  the  young  man  till  he 
came  himself,  as  he  intended  to  relieve  him  of  the 
burden  of  maintaining  his  family.  Galileo  had 
meanwhile  endeavoured  to  procure  a  page's  place 
for  a  younger  nephew,  Alberto,  in  the  Grand 
Duke's  household,  but  the  father  objected  that 
"  dear  Albertino's "  tender  age  (he  was  born  in 
1617)  made  it  more  proper  that  he  should  be 
served  than  that  he  should  serve  others.  It  would 
please  him  better  if  his  Highness  would  confer  a 
pension  on  the  boy  so  that  he  may  stay  at  home 
and  learn  to  play  on  the  lute !  As  for  Vincenzio, 
his  conduct  was  incomprehensible  to  the  father. 
"  But/'  he  says,  "  I  know  he  did  not  learn  his 
wicked  ways  from  me  or  any  one  else  belonging  to 
him.  It  must  have  been  the  fault  of  his  wet- 

Michelangelo  went  to  Florence  in  September 
1628,  and  took  his  family  back  to  Munich,  although 
he  had  not  the  wherewith  to  maintain  them,  and 
greatly  against  the  wishes  of  his  brother  who  was 
willing  to  keep  them  at  Bellosguardo.  This  step 

i629]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  221 

caused  our  long-suffering  philosopher  to  lose  all 
patience  with  a  man  who  would  only  allow  himself 
to  be  helped  in  his  own  way.  They  parted  never 
to  meet  again,  or  even  to  correspond,  for 
Michelangelo  died  on  3rd  January  1631. 

From  a  letter  of  Maria  Celeste,  while  these 
unpleasant  matters  were  tormenting  her  father,  we 
learn  that  she  too  was  ill  and  miserable,  jealous, 
perhaps,  of  the  presence  of  aunt  and  cousins  in  her 
father's  house. 

"I  believe,"  she  wrote  4th  March  1628,  "that 
it  is  possible  for  paternal  love  to  diminish  in  con- 
sequence of  children's  ill-behaviour ;  and  this  belief 
is  confirmed  by  some  signs  which  seem  to  tell  me 
that  your  affection  for  us  is  not  so  cordial  as  it  was. 
Besides  which,  though  you  are  well  now,  you  never, 
never  write  me  a  line.  For  more  than  a  month  I 
have  suffered  day  and  night  from  headache,  and 
can  get  no  relief. 

"  I  send  a  letter  for  Vincenzio,  just  to  remind 
him  of  our  existence  which  I  think  he  must  have 
forgotten,  seeing  that  he  never  writes  us  a  single 

This  last  illness  of  her  father  caused  Maria 
Celeste  the  deepest  anxiety.  Unable  to  see  for 
herself,  she  sent  the  convent  steward  on  one 
pretext  or  another  to  himself  see  her  father 
and  bring  her  word.  The  man  must  have  been 
devoted  to  this  sweet  Sister,  else  we  think  he 
would  have  objected  to  so  many  long  walks  to 
Bellosguardo,  the  bearer  of  such  trifles  as  a 

1  He  was  at  home  from  Pisa  for  the  Easter  vacation.  As  he  had 
forgotten  his  sisters7  existence  we  may  be  sure  he  was  well  supplied 
with  collars. 

222  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE         [1624- 

baked  quince  or  a  couple  of  pears,  a  winter  rose, 
a  preserved  citron,  or  a  phial  of  cinnamon  water. 
In  one  of  the  affectionate  little  notes  of  this 
period  (24th  March  1628),  she  says: — 

"Only  in  one  respect  does  cloister  life  weigh 
heavily  on  me,  namely,  that  it  prevents  my 
attending  on  you  personally.  My  thoughts  are 
always  with  you  and  I  long  to  have  news  of 
you  daily.  As  you  were  not  able  to  see  the 
steward  the  day  before  yesterday,  I  send  him 
again  to-day  with  these  two  pieces  of  preserved 
citron  as  an  excuse." 

In  June  1628,  after  six  years'  study  of  law  at 
Pisa,  Galileo's  son,  then  twenty-two  years  old, 
took  his  Doctor's  degree,  from  which,  as  we 
know,  Galileo  himself  was  debarred  more  than 
thirty  years  before,  on  account  of  the  expense. 
His  education  finished,  it  was  the  father's  wish 
that  he  should  seek  employment  in  some  branch 
of  the  Civil  Service  of  Tuscany,  but  Vincenzio 
preferred  living  an  idle  life  at  home,  under 
pretence  of  aiding  his  father  in  his  scientific 
and  literary  work. 

During  the  summer  and  autumn  of  1628, 
Galileo's  health  was  so  indifferent  as  to  put  a 
stop  to  all  exertion,  and,  consequently,  to  his  visits 
to  the  convent  distant  over  two  miles  across  a  hilly 
road.  What  little  strength  he  had  was  reserved 
for  his  scientific  correspondence  and  the  composition 
of  his  Dialogues.  But,  although  Maria  Celeste 
knew  this,  she  was  anxious  all  the  same.  On  loth 
December  she  wrote: — 

"You  may  think  from  my  long  silence  that 

1629]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  £3% 

I  had  forgotten  you,  just  as  I  might  imagine 
that  you  had  forgotten  the  road  to  our  abode, 
from  the  length  of  time  that  has  elapsed  since 
you  came  this  way.  However,  as  I  know  that 
the  reason  of  my  silence  is  that  I  have  not  an 
hour  at  present  that  I  can  call  my  own,  so  I 
think  in  your  case  that  not  forgetfulness  but 
press  of  business  keeps  you  from  coming  to  see 
us.  It  is  some  comfort,  meanwhile,  to  have 
Vincenzio's  visits,  as  we  thus  get  news  of  you 
on  which  we  can  rely." 

A  daughter  of  Geri  Bocchineri  of  Prato, 
Major-domo  of  the  Grand  Duke,  was  Maria 
Celestes  best  friend  in  the  convent,  and  is 
frequently  mentioned  in  her  letters  as  Sister 
Luisa.  Shortly  after  Vincenzio's  return  home 
from  Pisa  he  paid  his  addresses  to  a  sister  of 
this  lady,  Sestilia  Bocchineri,  and  was  accepted. 
This  news  greatly  delighted  Maria  Celeste,  and, 
on  4th  January  1629,  she  writes  to  know  when 
and  how  she  should  congratulate  the  bride,  and 
as  regards  a  wedding  present :  "  As  I  have  not 
the  means  to  do  as  my  mind  prompts,  I  must 
take  advantage  of  your  kind  offer  of  help." 

Maria  Celeste's  satisfaction  at  the  match  was 
increased  by  her  first  interview  with  the  bride.1 
She  thought  she  perceived  in  her  such  signs  of 
affection  for  her  father  as  augured  well  for  the 
comfort  of  his  declining  years.  Writing  on  22nd 
March,  she  says  : — 

**  Both  my  sister  and  I  were  much  pleased 
with  her  affable  manner  and  good  looks.  But 

1  The  marriage  took  place  at  Prato  on  29th  January  1629, 
Galileo  was  present  at  the  ceremony. 

224  RETURN    TO    FLORENCE         [1624- 

what  gave  me  the  greatest  joy  was  to  see  that 
she  was  fond  of  you,  since  from  that  we  may 
judge  that  she  will  not  be  wanting  in  such 
loving  attention  as  it  would  be  our  delight  to 
render  you  were  it  permitted.  .  .  . 

"  If  you  could  manage  to  send  back  the  clock 
on  Saturday  evening,  the  Sister,  whose  duty  it 
is  to  call  us  to  matins,  will  be  greatly  obliged." 

From  a  later  letter  we  learn  that  the  clock, 
which  had  been  sent  first  to  one  and  then  to 
another  with  no  improvement,  was  going  well 
now  that  Galileo  had  put  it  to  rights.  Some 
months  later  it  got  out  of  order  again,  and 
Vincenzio  tried  his  hand  at  repairing  it,  but  now 
(2 ist  January  1630),  it  goes  worse  than  ever. 
Yet,  perhaps,  its  not  going  is  more  her  fault 
than  Vincenzio's,  or,  perhaps,  it  is  because  the 
cord  is  bad,  or,  perhaps — she  doesn't  know,  but 
anyhow  she  sends  it  to  her  father,  for  mended 
the  clock  must  be,  and  that  quickly  too,  else 
these  nuns  will  let  her  have  no  peace. 

As  evidence  of  Galileo's  delightful  faculty  of 
turning  his  hand  to  everything,  and  of  the  odd  jobs 
he  was  called  on  to  do  for  the  poor  nuns  of  San 
Matteo,  the  following  passage  from  Maria  Celeste's 
letter  of  loth  September  1630  is  interesting : — 

11  Now  that  the  weather  is  getting  cooler 
Sister  Arcangela  and  I,  with  those  of  the  nuns 
whom  we  love  best,  have  planned  to  work 
together  in  my  cell  which  is  large;  but  the 
window  is  high,  and  wants  'glazing1  in  order 
that  we  may  see  a  little  better.  I  should  like 
to  send  you  the  panels  (or  shutters)  to  glaze 
them  with  waxed  linen,  which  even  if  old  will 

1629]  THREATENED    LOSS  225 

do  very  well.  But  I  wish  to  know  first  what 
you  think — not  that  I  doubt  your  willingness, 
but  because  it  is  a  piece  of  work  fitter  for  a 
carpenter  than  for  a  philosopher." 

The  common  window  of  that  period  was  no 
more  than  an  opening  in  the  wall  fitted  with  a 
shutter  in  which  was  a  hole  (or  holes)  to  let  in 
light  when  the  shutter  was  closed  in  very  hot 
and  very  cold  weathers. 

Towards  the  end  of  1629,  Galileo  found  himself 
face  to  face  with  yet  another  trouble  which  might 
have  proved  to  be  serious.  He  was  menaced  either 
with  deprivation  of  his  salary  as  Extraordinary 
Professor  at  Pisa,  or  with  the  loss  of  that  leisure 
which  had  been  the  determining  influence  in  his 
quitting  Padua  in  1610,  and  which  he  was  now  as 
anxious  as  ever  to  enjoy.  Some  ill-wishers  at  Pisa 
raised  the  question  whether  it  was  in  the  power  of  the 
Grand  Duke  to  assign  a  salary  out  of  the  University 
funds  to  one  who  neither  lectured  nor  resided  there. 
This  scruple  had  slept  for  nineteen  years,  so  it  is 
probable  that  those  who  now  raised  it  reckoned  on 
finding  in  young  Ferdinando  II.  a  less  firm  sup- 
porter of  Galileo  than  his  father  Cosimo  II.  had 
been.  But  the  matter  did  not  proceed  so  far  ;  the 
theologians  and  jurists,  to  whom  the  question  was 
referred,  decided  that  the  Grand  Duke  had  the 
power,  but  to  put  the  matter  beyond  all  further 
dispute,  his  Highness  appointed  Galileo  to  an 
equivalent  post  in  the  magistracy  of  the  University, 
so  that  he  was  left  undisturbed  in  the  stipend  and 
leisure  which  were  now  more  than  ever  necessary 
in  his  old  age  and  shattered  health. 






By  the  beginning  of  the  year  1630,  Galileo  had 
completed  his  Dialogues,  with  the  exception  of  an 
introduction  or  preface,  an  index,  and  a  few  finishing 
strokes  here  and  there.  In  announcing  this  fact  to 
his  friends,  he  informed  Prince  Cesi  that  he  intended 
going  to  Rome  to  see  to  the  printing  of  the  book — a 
step  of  which  the  Prince  highly  approved.  The 
state  of  affairs  at  Rome  just  then  seemed  very 
favourable  for  this  enterprise.  Galileo's  devoted 
disciple  Castelli  had  been  called  from  Pisa  in  1624 
to  be  mathematician  to  the  Pope,  and  enjoyed  great 
consideration  with  the  Barberini  family.  This  life- 
long friend  also  approved  the  design,  and  informed 
our  philosopher  (6th  February)  that  Father  Niccolo 
Riccardi,  another  old  pupil  and  now  chief  censor  of 
the  press,  had  promised  his  assistance.1 

Another  letter  of  i6th  March  contained  equally 
encouraging  news.  According  to  this,  the  celebrated 
Dominican  monk,  Tommaso  Campanella,  had  just 
told  the  Pope  that,  a  short  time  before,  he  had  tried 

1  He  was  officially  known  as  Master  of  the  Sacred  Palace. 


1630-1632]  COMPLETES    DIALOGUES        227 

to  convert  some  German  nobles  to  the  Catholic 
faith  ;  that  they  were  favourably  disposed  until  they 
heard  of  the  prohibition  of  the  Copernican  theory, 
when  they  indignantly  declined  to  have  anything 
more  to  say  to  him.  To  this  Urban  replied ;  "  It 
never  was  our  intention,  and  if  it  had  depended 
upon  us  that  decree  would  not  have  been  passed." 
In  other  letters  Ciampoli  and  Castelli  urged  their 
old  master  to  set  out  at  once  for  the  Papal  residence, 
"  where  they  were  longing  for  him  more  than  for  a 
lady-love."  In  the  face  of  these  fresh  indications  of 
an  altered,  or,  at  least,  tolerant  attitude  towards 
science,  we  cannot  be  surprised  at  Galileo  concluding 
that  under  Urban  VI I L  an  infringement  of  the 
decree  of  1616,  in  the  spirit  if  not  in  the  letter,  such 
as  his  Dialogues  undoubtedly  were,  would  give  no 
offence  at  the  Vatican. 

While  his  friends  were  thus  urging  him  to  set 
out,  his  daughter,  knowing  how  frail  he  was,  con- 
templated the  journey  with  anxiety.  In  her  letter 
of  1 4th  March,  she  hopes  he  will  come  to  see  them 
before  he  goes.  Then,  after  saying  how  busy  she 
is,  and  reminding  him  of  his  promise  to  send  her 
what  we  now  call  "  A  Polite  Letter- Writer/'  comes 
the  housewifely  P.S. — "If  you  want  any  collars 
washed  please  send  them;  and  eat  these  fresh 
eggs  for  love  of  me."  Maria  Celeste  is  clearly  the 
"scholared"  one  of  the  convent.  She  writes  letters 
for  the  poor  nuns  ;  helps  the  Mother  Abbess  in  her 
official  correspondence,  and  concocts  petitions  and 
begging  letters  to  "  people  of  quality,  such  as 
Governors,  Workmen,1  and  such-like  personages." 
i,  may  also  mean  administrators. 

228  COMPLETION   OF  DIALOGUES    [1630- 

For  many  days  she  goes  on  hoping  to  see  her 
father,  but  he  is  absorbed  in  the  final  revision  of 
his  book,  and  has  no  time  to  go  to  San  Matteo 
— even  to  wish  his  daughters  the  customary  Easter 
greetings.  Maria  Celeste  could  not  refrain  from 
an  affectionate  remonstrance ;  she  knows  he  is  im- 
mersed in  study,  but  she  does  not  wish  him  to 
shorten  his  precious  life  for  the  sake  of  fame.  He 
must  take  care  of  his  health  for  his  own  sake, 
and  for  his  children's  sake. 

On  1 2th  April,  he  found  time  to  pay  the  long- 
wished-for  visit,  and  he  was  made  to  promise 
another,  which  was  to  be  a  kind  of  family  gather- 
ing in  the  convent  parlour,  where  the  two  sisters 
would  entertain  their  father,  brother,  and  sister- 
in-law  at  a  dinner  (to  be  provided  by  Galileo). 
Wishing,  dear  soul,  that  the  banquet  should  be 
worthy  of  the  occasion,  and  fearing  that  her  father 
in  his  scientific  abstraction  would  send  unsuitable 
things,  she  reminds  him  that  she  does  not  want 
either  lemons  or  rosemary,  but  something  more 
substantial,  in  particular  a  flask  of  his  good  wine, 
two  cream  cheeses,  and  some  dish  that  will  do 
to  come  after  the  roast. 

The  Mother  Abbess  could  not  let  pass  such  an 
opportunity  of  detailing  the  needs  of  the  convent, 
and  enlisting  Galileo's  good  offices  towards  pro- 
curing some  relief  from  Rome ;  and  she  had  as 
little  hesitation  in  preferring  the  request  as  doubt 
of  its  being  granted  Why  not?  Maria  Celeste 
was  loved  by  her  father  who  could  refuse  her 
nothing,  Galileo  himself  was  the  Pope's  friend, 
and  surely  he  could  obtain  alms  for  her  at  Rome, 

i63a]  TAKES     MS,    TO    ROME  229 

as  easily  as  mend  the  convent  clock ;  lend  her 
money  when  hard  pressed ;  and  give  them  wine 
and  fruits  and  other  eatables  from  his  cellar  and 

Filled  with  hope  and  with  his  MS.  complete, 
Galileo  at  length  set  out  on  ist  May  in  a  Court 
litter,  and  travelling  fast  arrived  in  Rome  on  the 
evening  of  the  3rd.  Furnished  with  a  letter  of 
introduction  from  the  Grand  DukeJs  chief  secretary, 
Andrea  Cioli,  to  the  Tuscan  ambassador,  Francesco 
Niccolini,  he  was  most  hospitably  received  by  that 
gentleman  and  lodged  in  the  Embassy,  where  he 
quickly  gained  the  friendship  of  the  ambassador 
and  his  wife,  which  as  we  shall  soon  see  was  to 
be  so  useful  to  him. 

Soon  after  his  arrival  he  had  a  long  audience 
of  the  Pope,  and  wrote  on  i8th  May  to  Florence 
in  high  spirits  :  "  His  Holiness  has  begun  to  treat 
my  affairs  in  a  way  that  permits  me  to  hope  for 
a  favourable  result/'  Nevertheless,  the  result  was 
anything  but  favourable;  indeed,  the  toleration, 
to  say  nothing  of  the  recognition,  of  the  Copernican 
theory  so  ardently  hoped  for  was  as  far  off  as 
even  Urban  VIII.  would  not  object  to  the  publi- 
cation, but  certain  conditions  would  have  to  be 
fulfilled.  The  title  of  the  book,  "  Dialogues  on  the 
Flux  and  Reflux  of  the  Tides/'  was  misleading 
and  would  have  to  be  altered.  The  subject  being 
really  a  discussion  of  the  relative  merits  of  the 
Copernican  and  Ptolemaic  systems,  this  would 
have  to  be  indicated  in  the  title.  The  subject, 
moreover,  would  have  to  be  treated  from  a  purely 
hypothetical  standpoint,  and  this  fact  must  be 


clearly  set  forth  in  a  preface  or  introduction. 
Then,  the  book  must  conclude  with  an  argument 
which  the  Pope  communicated  to  Galileo  in  1624* 
and  which  his  Holiness  considered  unanswerable. 
As  great  importance  will  attach  itself  to  this  argu- 
ment in  the  sequel,  we  beg  our  readers  to  note  it 
carefully.  It  is  as  follows :  God  is  all-powerful  ; 
all  things  are  therefore  possible  to  Him ;  ergo  the 
tides  cannot  be  adduced  as  a  necessary  proof  of 
the  double  motion  of  the  earth  without  limiting 
God's  omnipotence — which  is  absurd. 

Rather  than  forego  the  publication  of  a  work 
towards  which  he  had  laboured  and  thought  for 
over  thirty  years,  Galileo  consented  to  these  con- 
ditions. Doubtless,  he  felt  that  such  minds  as 
were  capable  of  following  his  reasoning  in  favour 
of  Copernicanism  would  no  more  be  prejudiced  by 
the  hypothetical  warning  in  the  introduction  than 
by  the  unanswerable  argument  of  the  conclusion. 

Meanwhile,  the  MS.  was  submitted  to  Father 
Riccardi,  the  Papal  censor,  and  by  him  passed 
on  to  his  assistant  Father  Raffaele  Visconti,  who 
carefully  went  through  it,  altered  many  passages, 
and  finally  approved  the  work  thus  revised.  By 
this  time  the  middle  of  June  had  arrived,  and 
Galileo  was  anxious  to  leave  Rome  before  the 
great  heat  set  in.  Riccardi  read  over  the  MS. 
once  more  and  then  granted  his  permission  for 
the  printing  of  the  work  in  Rome.  Thus,  by 
the  end  of  June  1630,  Galileo  was  back  in  Florence 

1  When  Galileo's  theory  of  the  tides  was  being  discussed  in  Rome. 
Doubtless,  his  Holiness  brought  forward  his  argument  again  at  the 
recent  interview. 

1632]     IMPRIMATUR:  THE  PLAGUE     231 

with  his  MS.  duly  revised  and  corrected,  and 
with  the  ecclesiastical  Imprimatur  for  its  publica- 
tion in  Rome,  on  the  understanding  that  a 
preface  and  conclusion  were  added  in  accordance 
with  the  Papal  wishes.  But  events  were  now 
at  hand  which  long  delayed  Galileo's  ardent 
desire  to  see  his  work  speedily  given  to  the 
world,  and  which  involved  complications  after- 
wards taken  advantage  of  by  his  watchful 

Soon  after  his  return  from  Rome,  Galileo  wrote 
to  his  daughter,  and  from  her  reply  of  2ist  June, 
we  learn  that  he  was  ill  again  : — 

"Just  as  I  was  thinking  of  sending  you  a 
long  lamentation  because  of  your  never  coming 
near  us,  I  received  your  most  loving  letter  which 
shut  my  mouth  completely.  We  were  truly 
grieved  to  hear  of  your  being  ill ;  but  really, 
after  making  a  journey  at  this  time  of  the  year, 
and  with  the  plague  everywhere,  I  do  not  see 
how  it  could  be  otherwise.  I  am  astonished  to 
hear  of  your  going  into  Florence  every  day. 
Pray  take  a  few  days'  rest ;  do  not  even  come  to 
see  us.  We  would  prefer  you  kept  well  to  the 
pleasure  of  your  company/' 

The  plague,  already  rife  within  the  city  walls, 
now  began  to  spread  to  the  suburbs.  Even  the 
fashionable  Bellosguardo,  whose  reputation  for 
salubrity  equalled  the  beauty  of  its  situation,  was 
not  spared.  One  of  Galileo's  own  household,  a 
glass-blower,  was  taken  off  early  in  October ; 
and  soon  after,  his  son  Vincenzio,  seized  by  a 
panic,  fled  with  his  wife  to  Prato,  leaving  his 
invalid  father  alone,  and  his  seven-months'-old 

232   COMPLETION   OF   DIALOGUES   [1630- 

baby   out    at   nurse  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the 

On  1 8th  October,  Maria  Celeste  wrote  : — 

"  I  am  troubled  beyond  measure  at  the  thought 
of  your  distress,  and  am  horrified  at  the  sudden 
death  of  your  poor  glass-blower.  I  entreat  you 
to  omit  no  possible  precaution  against  the  present 
danger.  I  believe  that  you  have  by  you  all  the 
remedies  and  preventives  that  are  required,  so-  I 
will  not  repeat.  Yet  I  would  entreat  you,  with 
all  reverence  and  confidence,  to  procure  one  more 
remedy — the  best  of  all,  to  wit,  the  grace  of  God, 
by  means  of  true  contrition  and  penitence.  This 
is  without  doubt  the  most  efficacious  remedy  both 
for  soul  and  body.  For,  if  in  order  to  avoid  this 
sickness  it  is  necessary  to  be  always  of  good 
cheer,  what  greater  joy  can  we  have  in  this  world 
than  the  possession  of  a  good  and  serene 
conscience  ?  .  .  .  I  pray  your  Lordship  to  accept 
these  few  words  prompted  by  the  deepest 

"  I  wish  also  to  acquaint  you  with  the  frame 
of  mind  in  which  I  find  myself  at  present.  I  am 
desirous  of  passing  away  to  the  next  life,  for 
every  day  I  see  more  clearly  the  vanity  and  misery 
of  this  present  one.  There  I  would  hope  that 
my  prayers  for  your  Lordship  would  have  greater 

Ten  days  later,  28th  October,  she  asks  if  her 
brother  has  really  fled  to  Prato. 

"I  was  thinking,1'  she  continues,  "I  would 
write  to  give  him  a  piece  of  my  mind,  and  advise 
him  not  to  go,  or,  at  any  rate,  not  to  leave  the 
household  so  inconveniently  situated.  His  going 
away  in  this  manner  really  is  exceedingly  strange 

i632]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  233 

at  this  present  juncture,  as  there  is  no  saying 
what  may  happen.  However,  fearing  to  make 
matters  worse,  I  did  not  put  my  intention  into 
effect.  I  have  the  assurance  that  Almighty  God 
will  supply  you  by  His  providence  where  men 
fail  you." 

From  her  next  letters  we  infer  that  Vincenzio 
as  still  away,  leaving  his  aged  father  with  a 
scanty  household.  His  idleness  all  along  had 
been  a  cause  of  great  pain  to  Galileo.  With  no 
energy  to  help  himself,  and  too  conceited  to  accept 
any  appointment  not  commensurate  with  his  ideas 
of  his  own  importance,  he  preferred  to  live  an 
ignoble  life  at  his  father's  expense.  On  2nd 
November,  Maria  Celeste  tries  to  console  her 
father  in  a  long,  prattling,  and  most  touching 
letter.  She  entreats  him  sweetly  not  to  brood 
over  his  loneliness,  not  to  be  too  angry  at 
Vincenzio's  cowardly  and  ungrateful  conduct,  but 
to  fix  his  thoughts  on  heaven  : — 

<f  I  pray  you,"  she  continues,  "not  to  take 
the  knife  of  these  crosses  and  tribulations  by  the 
wrong  end,  but  rather  take  it  by  the  haft  and  use 
it  to  cut  through  all  the  imperfections  which  you 
may  discover  in  yourself,  that  being  thus  freed 
from  all  impediments  you  may,  as  with  a  lynx- 
like  eye  by  which  you  have  penetrated  the  heavens, 
penetrate  in  like  manner  the  things  of  this  lower 
world,  and  so  come  to  know  the  vanity  and  fallacy 
of  all  earthly  things.  ...  I  pray  your  Lordship 
pardon  me  if  my  chattering  becomes  wearisome. 
You  incite  me  to  it  by  telling  me  you  are  pleased 
to  have  my  letters.  I  look  upon  you  as  my  patron 
saint  (to  speak  according  to  our  custom  here)  to 


whom  I  tell  all  my  joys  and  griefs,  and  finding 
you  always  ready  to  listen  I  ask,  not  indeed  for 
everything  I  want,  for  that  would  be  too  much, 
but  just  for  what  I  find  most  needful  Now  the 
cold  weather  is  coming  and  I  shall  be  quite 
benumbed  if  you  do  not  send  me  a  counterpane, 
for  the  one  I  am  using  at  present  is  not  mine, 
and  the  person  to  whom  it  belongs  wants  it 
back.  The  one  you  gave  me,  as  well  as  the 
woollen  one,  I  have  given  to  Sister  Arcangela. 
She  prefers  sleeping  alone,  and  I  am  quite  willing 
she  should  do  so.  But  in  consequence  I  have 
only  a  serge  coverlet  for  myself.  So  I  entreat 
my  most  beloved  Devoto,  who  I  know  well  cannot 
bear  that  I  should  want  for  anything.  ...  I  send 
you  two  pots  of  electuary  as  a  preservative  against 
the  plague.  The  one  without  a  label  consists  of 
dried  figs,  walnuts,  rue,  and  salt,  mixed  with  honey. 
A  piece  of  the  size  of  a  walnut  is  to  be  taken 
in  the  morning  fasting,  with  a  little  good  wine. 
They  say  its  efficacy  is  truly  wonderful.  The 
contents  of  the  other  pot  are  to  be  taken  in  the 
same  way. 

'  '  You  said  in  your  letter  that  you  had  sent  me 
the  telescope,  but  you  have  forgotten  to  do  so, 
therefore  I  remind  you  of  it  ;  1  also  of  the  basket  in 
which  I  sent  you  the  quinces,  as  I  want  to  send 
some  more  if  I  can  meet  with  any." 

Galileo  appears  to  have  promised  his  daughters  a 
visit  in  the  beginning  of  December,  but  the  tramon- 
tana  (the  cold  wind  from  the  Apennines)  was 
blowing  hard,  and  the  old  man  dared  not  face  it. 
In  consequence,  Maria  Celeste  sends  one  of  her  little 
notes  (isth  December)  and  some  of  the  never- 

1  She  uses  the  word  occkiale^  but  Professor  Favaro  thinks  she 
meant  occhialino  or  microscope,  which  no  doubt  Galileo  intended  for 
her  amusement. 

x632]  FAMILY    AFFAIRS  235 

failing  preserved  citron.  She  also  asks  for  the 
wherewithal  to  make  a  few  Christmas  presents ; 
some  stuff  to  make  a  door-curtain  ;  and  a  few  trifles, 
such  as  reels,  sulphur  matches,  wicks,  and  tags.  If 
not  in  the  house  he  was  not  to  send  out  for  them, 
she  would  prefer  to  go  without  them,  to  running  the 
risk  of  the  messenger  bringing  back  the  plague  from 
the  city. 

In  a  letter  of  i8th  February  1631,  Maria  Celeste 
says : — "  I  am  quite  confused  at  hearing  that  you 
keep  all  my  letters.  I  fear  that  your  great  love  for 
me  makes  you  think  them  more  perfect  than  they 
are."  This  little  fact  shows  very  clearly  the  esteem 
in  which  he  held  her.  He  had,  no  doubt,  been  pour- 
ing out  his  tortured  soul  to  her.  Stung  by  his  son's 
misconduct,  by  his  brother's  selfish  waywardness, 
and  by  the  little  consideration  of  other  relatives,  it 
must  have  been  a  comfort  to  him  to  turn  to  the 
only  one  of  his  family  whose  life  was  a  mingled 
hymn  of  gratitude  for  his  kindness  and  of  prayers 
for  his  welfare.  It  must  have  helped  to  soothe  his 
aching  heart  to  know  that  there  was  one  being  in 
the  world  who  would  not  misunderstand  his  motives 
and  actions,  and  whose  sympathies  were  his  in  joy 
and  in  sadness. 

Early  in  the  summer  of  1631,  feeling  age  and 
infirmity  creeping  surely  over  him,  he  began  to 
think  of  a  change  of  residence  from  Bellosguardo  to 
the  neighbourhood  of  the  convent,  where  he  would 
be  able  to  enjoy  more  often  his  daughter's  society. 
Maria  Celeste's  letters  show  how  eager  she  was  to 
hear  of  a  house  which  would  combine  vicinity  to  the 
convent  with  a  good  situation,  and  a  rent  suitable  to 

236  COMPLETION   OF   DIALOGUES   [1630- 

her  father's  much-drained  purse.  House-hunting 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  Florence  was  not  then  the 
easy  work  it  is  nowadays,  such  villas  as  existed 
being  mostly  occupied  by  their  owners.  Vincenzio, 
who  appears  to  have  got  over  his  sulks  and  fear  of 
the  plague,  was  back  again  with  his  father,  and 
helped  in  search  for  a  house.  Maria  Celeste  heard 
of  two  or  three,  but  there  was  something  against 
them  all,  and  it  was  not  until  August  that  she 
heard  of  one  which  she  considered  suitable  in  every 
way.  Writing  on  the  I2th,  she  says  : — 

"  I  am  so  anxious  to  have  you  in  the  neighbour- 
hood that  I  am  constantly  enquiring  if  there  is  any 
place  near  here  to  let.  I  have  just  heard  of  a  villa  be- 
longing to  Signor  Esau  Martellini  which  is  situated 
on  the  Piano  de  Giullari,  and  bounds  our  garden. 
I  write  at  once  to  tell  you  that  you  may  see  if  it  be 
to  your  liking.  I  should  be  glad  indeed  if  it  were, 
as  then  I  should  not  be  obliged  to  remain  so  long 
without  news  of  you  as  is  the  case  at  present" 

Shortly  afterwards,  Dame  Piera  (Galileo's  old 
housekeeper)  going  to  the  convent  with  a  basket  of 
provisions,  rejoiced  the  daughter's  heart  by  telling 
her  that  there  was  every  prospect  of  the  villa  Mar- 
tellini being  taken.  As  Maria  Celeste's  last  letter 
addressed  to  Bellosguardo  is  dated  3oth  August,  it 
would  seem  that  very  soon  after,  Galileo  took  up  his 
abode  in  the  village  of  Arcetri  in  Martellini's  villa, 
then  called  "  II  Giojello"  (the  jewel),  and  now  known 
as  Villa  Galileo.  There,  not  five  minutes'  walk 
from  the  convent  (indeed  the  grounds  of  the  two 
houses  adjoined)  he  was  able  to  have  daily  inter- 
course with  his  daughters,  and  Maria  Celeste  no 

1632]  MOVES     TO    ARCETRI  237 

longer  found  difficulty  in  procuring  a  messenger  if 
necessary  to  send  affectionate  enquiries  about  his 
health,  or  little  presents  from  the  still-room  and 

"  Nearer  we  hail 

Thy  sunny  slope,  Arcetri,  sung  of  old 
For  its  green  wine ;  dearer  to  me — to  most, 
As  dwelt  on  by  that  great  astronomer, 
Seven  years  a  prisoner  at  the  city-gate, 
Let  in  but  in  his  grave  clothes.    Sacred  be 
His  villa  (justly  was  it -called  the  Gem ! ) 
Sacred  the  lawn,  where  many  a  cypress  threw 
Its  length  of  shadow,  while  he  watched  the  stars ! 
Sacred  the  vineyard,  where,  while  yet  his  sight 
Glimmered,  at  blush  of  morn  he  dressed  his  vines, 
Chanting  aloud  in  gaiety  of  heart 
Some  verse  of  Ariosto ! " 

— ROGERS'  Italy. 

Arcetri  is  full  of  memories  of  the  great  Florentine 
philosopher.  On  the  road  front  of  his  villa  is  a 
white  marble  slab  with  a  long  inscription  placed 
there  in  November  1788,  by  Gio.  Battista  Nelli,1 
and  commemorating  the  fact  that  Galileo  lived 
there  from  the  Kalends  of  November  1631  to  the 
Ides  of  January  1642.  Over  the  inscription  is  a 
bust  with  the  words  :  "  This  effigy  of  the  divine 
Galileo  was  erected  in  1843  by  Anton:  Filippo 
Marchioni."  2 

On  the  way  back  to  town,  soon  after  leaving 
Arcetri,  one  comes  to  the  picturesque  old  Torre  del 
Gallo,  from  the  tower  of  which  one  gets  a  glorious 

1  One  of  his  biographers— "Vita  e  Commercio  Letterario  di 
Galileo  Galilei,"  Lausanne,  1793.  For  inscription,  see  Alberi's 
edition,  vol.  xv.  p.  395. 

*  On  the  front  of  a  house  opposite  to  the  entrance  to  the  villa  is  an 
old  sun-dial  said  to  be  the  work  of  Galileo, 


view  of  the  surrounding  country,  extending  from 
the  wooded  heights  of  Vallombrosa  on  the  east,  to 
the  distant  Carrara  mountains  on  the  west;  and 
from  Certosa  and  away  along  the  Roman  road  to 
the  south,  to  the  heights  of  old  Fiesole  on  the  north, 
with  the  Val  d'Arno  and  Florence  in  between. 

"  Of  all  the  fairest  cities  of  the  earth 
None  is  so  fair  as  Florence." 

-—ROGERS'  Italy. 

A  chamber  in  the  tower  is  arranged  as  a 
Galilean  Museum,  and  is  full  of  relics  of  the 
philosopher  and  his  contemporaries,  as  portraits, 
busts,  engravings,  autographs,  and  medals  ;  instru- 
ments of  various  kinds,  as  telescopes,  thermometers, 
hour-glass,  etc.  Amongst  the  paintings  we  would 
particularly  direct  the  visitor's  attention  to  those  of 
Galileo  before  the  Inquisition  ;  Galileo,  blind  and 
in  bed,  dictating  to  his  son  and  his  last  disciples 
Viviani  and  Torricelli ;  and  portraits  of  the  two 

It  is  popularly  supposed  that  Galileo  used 
the  Torre  del  Gallo  as  an  observatory.  There 
seems,  however,  to  be  no  ground  for  this  belief; 
but  that  he  sometimes  came  here  to  enjoy  the 
grand  panorama  displayed  from  the  top  is  likely 

Not  far  from  the  Torre  del  Gallo,  and  still  on 
the  way  to  Florence,  one  comes  to  the  Piazza  degli 
UganellL  Here  the  great  painter  Sustermans 

1  Quite  recently  the  Torre  del  Galio  has  changed  hands,  and  the 
Galilean  relics,  etc.,  have  been  dispersed. 

The  Torre  del  Gallo,  Arcetri,  Florence. 

{To  face /.  238. 

i632]      OBSTACLES    TO    PRINTING        239 

lived,  and  here  in  1635  he  painted  his  celebrated 
portrait  of  Galileo.  A  photographic  copy  of  this 
is  reproduced  as  the  frontispiece  to  this  volume. 
This  picture,  which  is  thought  by  experts  to  be 
Sustermans'  chef  cfceuvre,  has  a  history.  It  was 
sent  by  Galileo  as  a  present  to  his  friend  and  .cor- 
respondent, Elia  Diodati  of  Paris.  Twenty  years 
later,  and  as  a  special  favour,  it  was  returned  to  the 
Grand  Duke;  and  later  still  it  was  placed  in  the 
Uffizi  Collection  by  Cardinal  Leopoldo  de  Medici — 
"  In  order  to  show  to  all  two  marvels  of  nature,  in 
the  person  of  him  who  is  represented,  and  in  the  art 
of  the  painter/*1 

All  this  time,  from  soon  after  his  return  from 
Rome,  Galileo  was  tormented  with  the  obstacles 
and  delays  which  he  encountered  in  the  printing  of 
his  Dialogues.  It  would  detain  us  too  long  and  be 
little  profitable  to  set  out  these  complications  in 
detail ;  but  they  are  so  well  summarised  by  Galileo 
himself  in  a  letter  of  /th  March  1631,  to  Chief 
Secretary  Cioli,  that  we  venture  to  reproduce  it  as 
follows : — 

"  As  your  Lordship  knows,  I  went  to  Rome  for 
the  purpose  of  getting  permission  to  publish  my 
Dialogues,  and  to  this  end  I  put  them  in  the  hands 
of  the  Master  of  the  Sacred  Palace,  who  committed 
them  to  the  care  of  his  colleague,  Father  Raffaele 

1  Sustermans  was  born  in  Antwerp  1597,  settled  in  Florence 
and  there  died  in  1681.  There  is  another  portrait  of  Galileo  in  the 
Pitti  Palace  Collection  (No.  106,  Hall  of  Mars),  which  has  been 
attributed  to  Sustermans,  but  is  now  supposed  to  be  the  work  of  one 
of  his  pupils.  See  on  this  disputed  point  Favaro's  "Document! 
Inediti  per  la  Storia  dei  Manoscritti  Galileiani,"  Rome,  1886,  pp.  102-3 
and  109. 


Visconti,  that  he  may  examine  them  with  the 
greatest  attention,  and  note  any  doubtful  matter  or 
any  conceit  of  imagination  requiring  correction, 
which  (at  my  own  request  also)  he  did  most 
thoroughly.  And  when  I  entreated  the  Rev. 
Master  to  grant  me  the  required  licence,  his 
Reverence  signified  his  wish  to  read  the  whole 
MS.  through  once  more.  This  was  done,  after 
which  he  returned  the  book  with  the  licence  signed 
with  his  own  hand;  whereupon  I,  having  been  in 
Rome  for  two  months,  returned  to  Florence,  in- 
tending to  send  back  the  book  (as  soon  as  I  had 
added  the  dedication  or  preface,  the  conclusion,  and 
a  few  other  necessary  things)  to  the  illustrious 
Prince  Cesi,  President  of  the  Lyncean  Academy, 
who  had  always  superintended  the  printing  of  my 
works.  But  owing  to  the  death  of  this  Prince 
[on  2nd  August  1630]  and  the  interruption  of 
communications  [by  the  plague],  I  was  hindered 
from  printing  the  work  in  Rome,  and  decided  on 
having  it  done  here.  I  had  arranged  matters  with 
an  able  printer  and  publisher,  and  had  procured  the 
licence  of  the  Rev.  Vicar,  and  of  the  Inquisitor,  and 
also  of  the  illustrious  Signor  Niccolo  Antella.  I 
informed  the  Rev.  Master  of  the  Palace  of  all  that 
had  taken  place,  and  of  the  impediments  in  the  way 
of  the  printing  in  Rome.  Whereupon  he  informed 
me,  through  our  Ambassador,  that  he  wished  to 
have  another  look  at  the  book,  and  that  I  was  to 
send  him  a  copy.  On  this  I  came  to  you,  as  you 
know,  to  ask  if  it  were  possible  to  send  such  a  large 
volume  to  Rome  with  security,  and  you  replied 
certainly  not,  and  that  letters  were  hardly  safe. 
On  this  I  wrote  again,  stating  the  impediments,  and 
offering  to  send  the  preface  and  the  end  of  the 
book,  to  which  the  superior  authorities  might  add  if 
they  saw  fit,  or  take  away,  or  add  notes  of  explana- 
tion ;  for  I  myself  do  not  refuse  to  call  these 

i633]       OBSTACLES    TO    PRINTING        241 

thoughts  of  mine  chimeras,  dreams,  paralogisms, 
and  vain  imaginations,  submitting  the  whole  to  the 
absolute  wisdom  of  my  superiors.  As  to  the  further 
revision  of  the  body  of  the  work,  I  suggested  it 
might  be  done  here  by  some  person  named  by  the 
Rev.  Father.  He  was  content  that  it  should  be 
so,  and  accordingly  I  sent  him  the  preface  and  the 
end,  and  he  authorised  Father  Jacinto  Stefani, 
Counsellor  of  the  Inquisition  in  Florence,  to  revise 
the  work.  This  he  did  with  the  greatest  care, 
observing  even  the  minutest  points  which  neither 
to  him  nor  to  my  most  malignant  adversary  could 

five  the  slightest  umbrage.1  Indeed,  the  Rev. 
ather  declared  that  the  reading  of  my  book 
had  drawn  tears  from  him  more  than  once,  when 
he  saw  with  what  humility  and  reverent  submission 
I  deferred  to  the  authority  of  my  superiors.  And 
he  declares,  as  do  all  who  have  read  the  book,  that 
I  ought  to  be  entreated  to  publish  it,  instead  of 
being  hindered  in  so  many  ways,  of  which  I  need  not 
here  adduce  examples. 

"  Weeks  and  months  ago  I  heard  from  Father 
Castelli  that  he  had  often  met  the  Rev.  Master 
who  had  given  him  to  understand  that  he  was 
going  to  send  back  the  preface  and  the  end, 
arranged  to  his  entire  satisfaction ;  but  this  has  not 
yet  been  done.2  The  papers  have  been  thrown 
aside  into  some  corner,  and  my  life  is  wasting  away, 
and  I  am  in  continual  trouble.  I  went  into  town 

1  "  The  reviser  here,  finding  nothing  to  alter,  but  in  order  to  show 
that  he  had  gone  carefully  through  the  MS.,  contented  himself  with 
substituting  some  words  for  others,  as  for  instance,  in  several  places, 
'universe1  for  ' nature,1  {  quality'  for  Attribute,'  'sublime  spirit'  for 
*  divine  spirit » — excusing  himself  to  me  by  saying  he  foresaw  that  I 
should  have  to  do  with  fierce  foes  and  bitter  persecutors,  as  indeed 
has  come  to  pass."— Galileo  to  Elia  Diodati,  I5th  January  1633. 

2  Evidently  some  intrigue  was  afoot  in  Rome  to  stifle  the  book. 
Castelli  wrote  24th  August  1630,  recommending   for    many    most 
weighty  reasons,  which  he  did  not  wish  just  then  to  put  on  paper, 
that  the  work  be  printed  in  Florence,  and  as  quickly  as  possible. 


242   COMPLETION    OF   DIALOGUES  [1630 

yesterday  at  my  Serene  Master's  command,  to  see 
the  designs  for  the  facade  of  the  Cathedral,  and  also 
wishing  to  avail  myself  of  his  kindness,  so  that, 
taking  counsel  with  your  Excellency,  some  means 
may  be  found  for  making  the  Rev.  Master  explain 
himself — as  that  the  Ambassador  be  instructed  to 
signify  his  HIghness's  desire  for  a  termination  of 
this  weary  business,  and  to  let  him  know  what  sort 
of  man  his  Highness  has  for  a  servant.  But  so  ex- 
ceedingly troubled  was  I  that  I  could  neither  speak  to 
his  Highness  nor  look  at  the  designs.  Just  now  a 
messenger  from  Court  has  come  to  know  how  I 
am,  and  truly  I  am  in  such  a  state  that  I  should 
not  have  risen  from  my  bed  had  I  not  wished  so 
particularly  to  tell  your  Lordship  of  this  business, 
and  to  beg  you  to  do  for  me  that  which  I  was 
unable  to  do  yesterday,  and  to  take  the  matter  into 
your  own  hands,  so  that  I  may,  while  life  yet 
remains,  see  what  result  I  may  expect  from  all  my 
long  and  heavy  labours.  I  send  this  by  the  hand 
of  the  Court  messenger,  and  shall  await  your  reply 
through  Signor  Geri  Bocchineri.  And  since  his 
Highness  is  so  anxious  to  learn  the  state  of  my 
health  I  beg  you  to  tell  him  that  I  should  be  pretty 
well  in  body,  were  I  not  so  afflicted  in  mind."1 

The  ambassador,   Niccolini,    was   instructed   to 
act  in  accordance  with  Galileo's  wishes,  and  after 

1  In  this  letter  Galileo  refers  incidentally  to  one  of  the  few  occa- 
sions on  which  his  advice  was  sought  in  the  public  service,  so  far  as 
we  know  from  documentary  evidence.  Another  occasion  occurred  a 
short  tim'e  previously,  namely,  a  disastrous  inundation  of  the  river 
Bisenzio.  His  report,  in  which  he  recommended  the  canalisation  of 
the  river,  is  dated  i6th  January  1631,  and  addressed  to  Raflaello 
Staccoli,  the  Auditor-General  of  Tuscany.  On  the  22nd  July  of  the 
same  year,  he  addressed  another  report  to  the  Grand  Duke  on  the 
proposed  canalisation  of  the  Arno.  For  some  interesting  information 
on  these  subjects,  see  Napier's  "Florentine  History,"  London,  1847, 
vol.  vi  pp.  393-448. 

1632]  OBSTACLES    REMOVED  243 

more  months  of  vexatious  objections  and  delays, 
and  not  until,  as  Niccolini  says,  "formally  pulled 
by  the  hair,"  Riccardi  sent  back  the  preface 
and  end,  now  quite  In  order,  to  the  censor  in 
Florence.  In  his  covering  letter  of  lyth  July 
1631,  he  says  : — 

"  Conformably  to  the  orders  of  our  Lord  (the 
Pope)  respecting  Signor  Galileo's  book,  besides 
what  I  wrote  to  your  Reverence  concerning  the 
body  of  the  work,  I  send  you  the  preface,  with 
liberty  to  the  author  to  alter  or  embellish  as  to 
the  wording,  so  as  the  substance  is  preserved. 
The  end  may  be  treated  in  the  same  way." 

By  early  autumn,  and  after  a  second  Revision 
of  the  whole  work  by  Father  Stefani  in  accordance 
with  precise  instructions  from  Rome,  all  the  con- 
ditions of  the  censorship  were  finally  complied 
with,  and  permission  to  print  the  book  in  Florence 
was  issued  in  due  form  of  Imprimatur.  In  all 
these  annoying  hindrances  Galileo  had  a  foretaste 
of  the  persecution  which  was  to  be  his  lot  for  the 
rest  of  his  life. 

We  shall  devote  the  rest  of  this  chapter 
to  giving  an  idea  of  the  plan  and  style  of  the 
work,  and  a  rdsumt  of  its  contents.  The  book, 
which  is  dedicated  to  Ferdinando  II.,  bears  the 
following  title,  unusually  long  in  an  age  of  long 
titles  : — "  Dialogue  of  Galileo  Galilei,  Lyncean, 
Mathematician  Extraordinary  of  the  University 
of  Pisa,  Philosopher  and  First  Mathematician 
of  the  Most  Serene  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany ; 
where  in  meetings  of  four  days  are  discussed 
the  Two  Principal  Systems  of  the  World,  in- 

244      CONTEXTS    OF    DIALOGUES      [1630- 

determmately  proposing  the  Philosophical  and 
Natural  arguments,  as  well  on  one  side  as  on 
the  other."  It  is  written  in  Italian,  and  in  a 
style  adapted  not  for  the  learned  alone,  but 
intelligible  and  attractive  to  every  one  of  ordinary 
education.  His  reason  for  writing  in  Italian 
instead  of  in  Latin  —  the  usual  vehicle  fo 
philosophical  subjects — is  characteristic. 

"I  write  in  Italian,"  he  says,  " because  I  wish 
every  one  to  be  able  to  read  what  I  say.  I  see 
young  men  brought  together  indiscriminately  to 
study  to  become  physicians,  philosophers,  etc., 
who  although  furnished,  as  Ruzzante  might  say,1 
with  a  decent  set  of  brains,  yet  being  unable  to 
understand  things  written  in  gibberish,  assume 
that  in  these  crabbed  folios  there  must  be  some 
grand  hocus  pocus  of  logic  and  philosophy  much 
too  high  up  for  them  to  jump  at.  I  want  such 
people  to  know  that  as  Nature  has  given  eyes  to 
them  just  as  well  as  to  philosophers  for  the  purpose 
of  seeing  her  works,  so  she  has  given  them  brains 
for  examining  and  understanding  them." 

The  dialogue  is  carried  on  by  three  inter- 
locutors, two  of  whom  adduce  the  scientific 
reasons  for  the  double  motion  of  the  earth, 
while  the  third  honestly  tries  to  defend  the 
opinions  of  the  Ptolemaic  and  Aristotelian 
schools.  Galileo  gave  to  the  defenders  of  the 
Copernican  doctrine  the  names  of  two  of  his 
warmest  friends,  both  long  dead — Filippo  Salviati 
of  Florence  (died  1614),  and  Gio  Francesco 

1  Ruzzante,  whose  real  name  was  Angelo  Beolco,  was  a  Paduan 
(1502-1542),  and  the  writer  of  racy  stories  and  ridiculous  incidents  in 
the  Paduan  dialect 

j632]  PLAN    OF    THE     WORK  245 

Sagredo  of  Venice  (died  1620).  Salviati  is  the 
special  advocate  of  the  Copernican  doctrines ; 
Sagredo  is  witty,  impartial,  and  open  to  con- 
viction, a  half  convert,  but  an  acute  and  ingenious 
one.  To  him  are  allotted  the  objections  which 
seem  to  have  some  real  force,  as  well  as  lively 
illustrations  and  digressions  which  would  be 
inconsistent  with  the  gravity  of  Salviati's 
character.  Simplicio,  a  name  borrowed  from 
the  noted  Sicilian  commentator  of  Aristotle  who 
wrote  in  the  sixth  century,1  is  of  course  a  con- 
firmed Ptolemaist  and  Aristotelian,  and  produces 
successively  all  the  scientific  arguments  of  the 
peripatetic  school ;  and  as  these  fail  to  convince, 
he  has  recourse  to  all  the  arts  of  sophistry. 
Placed  between  the  wit  and  the  philosopher, 
it  may  be  guessed  that  his  case  fares  badly,  in 
fact,  he  is  chaffed  and  confuted  at  every  turn, 
so  that  no  unbiassed  reader  can  fail  to  perceive 
the  superiority  of  the  modern  theory;  and  as 
Galileo  puts  into  the  mouth  of  Simplicio  not 
only  every  possible  argument  in  favour  of  his 
case,  but  also  every  possible  objection  to  the 
other  side,  this  superiority  is  made  to  appear 
all  the  more  striking.2 

The  condition  that  the  Copernican  doctrine  is 
only  to  be  treated  as  an  hypothesis  is  ostensibly 

1  Miss  Clerke  (verbo  Galileo,  "  Encyc.  Brit")  says  that  this  choice  of 
name  was  "  doubtless  instigated  by  a  sarcastic  regard  to  the  double 
meaning  of  the  word";  but  there  seem  to  be  no  grounds  for  the 
suggestion.     Indeed,  Galileo  says  distinctly  in  his  preface  that  the 
name  was  suggested  by  that  of  Aristotle's  commentator.    The  name  is 
used  again  in  his  "  Dialogues  on  the  New  Sciences,"  published  in  1638. 

2  A  favourite  method,  see  p.  161  ante. 

246      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES     [1630 

coxnpiied  with,  If  Salviati  or  Sagredo  show  the 
untenableaess  of  some  Ptolemaic  axiom,  or  add 
a  stone  to  the  Copernican  structure,  a  remark 
is  interpolated  by  one  or  other  to  weaken  the 
effect.  When,  for  instance,  it  is  said  that  the 
final  decision  in  the  controversy  rests  neither 
with  mathematics  and  physics,  nor  with  logic 
and  philosophy,  but  with  "a  higher  insight"; 
or  when  Salviati  repeatedly  asserts  that  he  does 
not  wish  to  maintain  the  Copernican  doctrines  as 
true,  and  uses  the  qualifying  word  "  possible," 
or  speaks  of  them  as  " fantasies"  and  "most 
vain  chimeras/'  the  reader  cannot  fail  to  see 
that  these  reservations,  which  always  occur 
at  critical  moments,  are  made  with  the  purpose 
of  appeasing  the  censors. 

When  we  remember  its  history  we  cannot  be 
surprised  that  the  preface  or  introduction  has  no 
logical  agreement  with  the  contents  of  the 
Dialogue.  It  is  addressed  "To  the  Discreet 
Reader,"  and  runs  as  follows : — 

"Some  years  ago  a  salutary  edict  was 
promulgated  at  Rome,  which,  in  order  to  obviate 
the  perilous  scandals  of  the  present  age,  enjoined 
an  opportune  silence  on  the  Pythagorean  opinion 
of  the  earth's  motion.  Some  were  not  wanting 
who  rashly  asserted  that  this  decree  originated, 
not  in  a  judicious  examination,  but  in  ill- 
informed  passion ;  and  complaints  were  heard  that 
counsellors  totally  inexperienced  in  astronomical 
observations  ought  not  by  hasty  prohibitions  to 
clip  the  wings  of  speculative  minds.  My  zeal 
could  not  keep  silence  when  I  heard  these  rash 
lamentations,  and  I  thought  it  proper,  as  being 

i632]  FLAN     OF    THE    WORK  247 

fully  informed  with  regard  to  that  most  prudent 
edict,  to  appear  publicly  as  a  witness  of  the  actual 
truth.  I  happened  at  that  time  to  be  in  Rome  ; 
I  was  admitted  to  the  audiences,  and  enjoyed  the 
approbation  of  the  most  eminent  prelates  of  that 
Court;  nor  did  the  publication  of  the  aforesaid 
decree  occur  without  my  receiving  some  prior 
intimation  of  it  Wherefore  it  is  my  intention 
in  this  present  work  to  show  to  foreign  nations 
that  L-  much  of  this  matter  is  known  in  Italy 
(and  particularly  in  Rome)  as  ultramontane 
diligence  can  ever  have  formed  any  notion  of, 
and  (collecting  together  all  my  own  speculations 
on  the  Copernican  system)  to  show  them  that 
the  knowledge  of  all  these  preceded  the  Roman 
censures,  and  that  from  this  country  proceed  not 
only  dogmas  for  the  salvation  of  the  soul,  but 
also  ingenious  discoveries  for  the  gratification  of 
the  understanding.  With  this  object  I  have 
taken  up  in  the  dialogue  the  Copernican  side  of 
the  question,  treating  it  as  a  pure  mathematical 
hypothesis,  and  endeavouring  in  every  artificial 
manner  to  represent  it  as  having  the  advantage, 
not  over  the  opinion  of  the  stability  of  the  earth 
absolutely,  but  over  it  as  taught  and  defended 
by  some  who  profess  to  be  peripatetics,  but 
retain  only  the  name,  and  are  content,  without 
improvement,  to  worship  shadows,  not  philoso- 
phising with  their  own  reason,  but  only  from 
the  recollection  of  four  principles  imperfectly 

The  conclusion  agrees  no  better  than  the 
preface  with  the  body  of  the  work.  At  the  end 
of  the  fourth  day,  which  is  almost  wholly  taken 
up  with  the  question  of  the  tides,  comes  naturally 

1  It  will  be  noted  that  this  preface  is  in  much  the  same  style  as 
the  introduction  to  his  Ingoli  letter.    See  p.  2*2  ante. 

248      CONTEXTS    OF    DIALOGUES      [1630- 

the    Popes    4<  unanswerable  "    argument    of    1624 
(p.  230  ante).     Salviati  treats  it  accordingly  : — 

"It  is,"  he  says,  "an  admirable  and  truly 
angelic  argument,  and  perfectly  in  accord  with  that 
which,  coming  from  God  Himself,  permits  us  to 
discuss  the  constitution  of  the  world — doubtless 
with  the  view  of  preventing  (by  exercising  them) 
the  diminution  and  enfeeblement  of  our  intellectual 
faculties,  while  withholding  from  us  the  power  of 
fully  comprehending  the  works  of  His  hands.  May 
this  exercise  (permitted  and  ordained  by  God)  en- 
able us  to  see  and  admire  His  greatness,  which  is 
all  the  more  necessary  since  we  shall  never  be  able 
to  penetrate  the  depths  of  His  infinite  wisdom. " 

Sagredo  then  says  : — 

"  Let  this  reflection  be  a  fitting  conclusion  to 
our  four  days'  discussion.  And  now,  if  Salviati 
desires  some  repose,  our  curiosity  will  concede  the 
delay,  but  only  on  condition  that  at  his  earliest 
convenience  he  will  satisfy  us  as  to  the  problems 
reserved  for  future  meetings.  For  myself,  I  am 
extremely  anxious  to  hear  his  exposition  of  the 
elements  of  the  new*  science  of  local  motions, 
natural  and  violent,  as  elaborated  by  him." 

As  regards  the  contents  of  the  Dialogues,  we 
can  only  give  an  outline.  Salviati  opens  the 
conference  by  defining  its  object,  which  is  to 
examine  all  the  physical  arguments  evoked  for 
and  against  their  opinions  by  the  defenders  of 
Aristotle  and  Ptolemy  on  the  one  hand,  and  of 
the  Copernican  doctrine  on  the  other. 

No  discussion  could  be  undertaken  without  first 
enquiring  into  Aristotelian  doctrines,  which  formed 
the  basis  of  current  theory.  In  a  few  words  those 

i63a]  FIRST    "DAY"  249 

amounted  to  a  statement,  that  whereas  things 
earthly  are  imperfect  and  full  of  change,  things 
heavenly  are  eternal,  unchangeable,  and  perfect. 
Salviati  proves  that  this  statement,  in  the  spirit  in 
which  it  was  usual  to  accept  it,  was  in  reality  un- 
tenable. The  telescope  showed  him  imperfections 
on  the  sun's  surface,  which  was  contrary  to  the  be- 
lief that  that  body  was  unchangeable  and  free  from 
blemish.  He  lays  no  great  stress  on  the  instance 
of  comets  (whose  real  nature  Galileo  never  under- 
stood), but  quotes  the  recent  new  stars  (of  1572 
and  1604)  as  instances  of  further  change  in  the 
heavens.  He  thus  prepares  the  way  for  a  still 
wider  departure  from  Aristotelian  theory ;  he  insists 
that  the  time  has  come  to  consider  the  nature  of 
the  world  de  novo,  respectfully  suggesting  that 
Aristotle,  had  he  the  opportunities  which  the  in- 
vention of  the  telescope  afforded,  would  himself 
have  been  the  first  to  realise  the  inadequacy  of 
his  dogmas  on  this  subject. 

Salviati  proceeds  to  poi«it  out  certain  resem- 
blances between  the  earth  and  moon  and  the 
more  distant  heavenly  bodies.  It  is  shown  that 
the  moon  only  shines  in  virtue  of  the  sunshine 
falling  on  her.  The  idea  that  the  earth  might 
similarly  appear  luminous  to  any  inhabitant — could 
one  be  imagined  to  exist — on  the  moon  is  less 
familiar,  and  less  readily  accepted.  And  yet  the 
visibility  of  the  moon  during  a  total  eclipse  of 
the  sun,  and  the  appearance  "  of  the  old  moon  in 
the  arms  of  the  new"  (as  we  now  speak  of  it), 
are  more  probably  due  to  reflected  earth-light  than 
to  any  other  cause.  This  is  discussed  at  some 

250      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES      [1630 

length,  and  the  phenomena  of  Venus's  phases 
(revealed  by  the  telescope)  are  shown  to  be 
similar  to  those  of  the  moon,  and  may  be  ex- 
plained as  due  to  the  same  cause.  Venus  then, 
like  the  moon,  owes  her  brilliance  to  sunlight 
falling  on  her.  The  same  probably  applies  to 
Mercury  and  Mars.  The  obvious  inference  seems 
to  be  that  all  of  these  heavenly  bodies  are  not 
so  unlike  the  earth  as  men  had  always  been 
taught  to  believe.  Points  of  resemblance  there 
certainly  are,  and  there  may  be  many  more,  which 
the  distance  of  the  planets  alone  prevents  us 
from  discovering.  Salviati  refers  to  the  common 
spherical  form  of  earth,  sun,  moon,  and  planets, 
suggesting  the  existence  of  a  common  cause  for 
that  shape.  The  passage  is  striking  enough  to 
quote : — 

"  Just  as  from  the  mutual  and  universal  tendency 
of  the  parts  of  the  earth  to  form  a  whole,  it 
follows  that  they  all  meet  together  with  equal  in- 
clination, and,  that  they  may  unite  as  closely  as 
possible,  they  assume  the  spherical  form,  and  so 
we  ought  to  believe  that  the  moon,  the  sun, 
and  other  mundane  bodies  are  also  of  a  round 
figure,  if  for  no  other  reason  than  from  a  common 
instinct  and  natural  concourse  of  their  component 
parts ;  whence,  if  by  accident  any  one  should  be 
violently  separated  from  its  whole,  it  is  reasonable 
to  believe  that  spontaneously  and  of  its  natural 
instinct  it  would  return*"1 

\  Here  follow  some  remarks  which  show  that  the  idea  of  universal 
gravitation  hovered  round  Galileo's  mind  without  fully  entering  it. 
He  perceived  the  analogy  between  the  power  which  holds  the  moon 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  earth,  and  compels  Jupiter's  satellites  to 
circulate  round  their  primary,  and  that  attractive  power  which  the 
earth  exercises  on  bodies  at  its  surface ;  but  he  failed  to  conceive  the 

1632]  SECOND    "DAY"  251 

Having  laid  stress  on  the  resemblance  of  earth 
and  planets  as  a  probable  theory,  SalviatI  proposes 
for  them  all  a  similar  motion  round  the  sun— one 
of  the  two  main  points  of  the  new  Copernican 
doctrines.  He  shows  how  by  this  hypothesis  the 
apparent  paths  of  the  planets  can  all  be  explained. 
And  the  simplicity  of  his  explanation  as  contrasted 
with  the  Ptolemaic  system  appeals  to  common- 
sense,  in  a  way  which  in  itself  almost  carries 
conviction.  A  glance  through  a  telescope  turned 
towards  Jupiter  shows  a  family  of  small  bodies 
circling  round  a  great  planet;  here  one  could  see 
on  a  small  scale  the  very  thing  that  Copernicus 
had  described  as  going  on  in  the  case  of  planets 
and  sun  on  a  much  larger  scale,  the  sun  being 
in  the  latter  case  the  central  body  which  corre- 
sponded with  Jupiter  in  the  other, 

On  the  second  "Day"  the  discussion  passes 
on  to  the  other  chief  point  in  the  Copernican 
hypothesis,  that  the  daily  motion  of  the  stars  is 
only  apparent,  being  due  to  a  real  daily  rotation 
of  the  earth  on  its  polar  axis.  Various  objections 
are  brought  against  this.  The  opponents  of  the 
earth's  diurnal  motion  maintained  that,  if  that 
motion  were  real,  a  stone  dropped  from  the  top 
of  a  tower  would  not  fall  at  its  foot.  In  the  same 
way  it  was  stated  that  a  stone  dropped  from 
the  masthead  of  a  ship  would  fall  near  the  stern, 
in  consequence  of  the  ship's  velocity.  But,  strange 
as  it  seemed  to  Simplicio,  it  is  nevertheless  true 

combination  of  central  force  with  initial  velocity,  and  was  disposed  to 
connect  the  revolutions  of  the  planets  with  the  axial  rotation  of  the 
sun — a  notion  which  tended  more  towards  Descartes'  theory  of  vortices 
than  towards  Newton's  theory  of  gravitation. 

252      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES      [1630- 

that  the  stone  falls  at  the  foot  of  the  mast,   the 
ship's  motion,  provided  it  be  uniform,   having   no 
power  to  disturb  its  fall      In  a  variety  of  forms 
the  argument  is  brought  forward,  that  if  the  earth 
be  really  rotating  we   on    its  surface  ought   to  be 
sensible  of  the  fact,  either  by  our  direct  power  of 
feeling,  or  else  by  irregularities  in  the  motion  of 
the  things  about  us.      There  is  a  single  reply  to 
all  such  contentions,   viz.,    all   bodies   on   or   near 
the  earth's  surface  share  the  earth's  motion,  even 
the   lower  parts   of  the  atmosphere  being  carried 
on  by  it,  and,  therefore,  as  all  such  things  have  a 
common   motion,    their   relations    to    one    another 
are  just  as  if  the  motion  did  not  exist.     "  Motion  is 
so  far  motion  (and  as  motion  it  operateth)  by  how 
far  it  hath  relation  to  things  which  want  motion  ; 
but  in   those    things    which     all    equally   partake 
thereof    it   hath   nothing   to    do,    and   is    as   if   it 
never  were."     Salviati  justifies  this  contention  by 
a  forcible  illustration.      A   ship   is   out   for   many 
months  on  an  ocean  voyage,  touching  at  various 
ports,  and  sailing  now  east,   now  west.      Fix  the 
attention  on  a  single  bale  of  cargo,  packed  tight 
in  the  hold ;  and,  though  the  ship  may  have  been 
tossed  about  in  all  directions  by  winds  and  waves, 
we  are  justified  in  saying  that  that  particular  bale 
of  cargo  has  not  moved  during  the  long  journey 
from  port  to  port.     Let  the  mate  go  down  into 
the  hold  and  disturb   that  bale  from  its  place  by 
one  inch,  and  it  has  had  in   relation   to  the  rest 
of  the   cargo   a   greater   motion   than   it  acquired 
during  all  the   time    that    ship    and    cargo   were 
voyaging  together  ;    the    disturbances    that    were 

1632]  THIRD    "DAY"  253 

common   to  all   had   no   visible   effect   inside    the 

No  objections  to  the  hypothesis  of  the  earth's 
rotation  being  found  tenable,  it  is  shown  by  Salviati 
how  much  more  simple  is  the  real  motion  proposed 
than  the  supposition  that  the  universe  revolves 
daily  round  a  fixed  earth.  "  To  make  the  universe 
revolve/1  he  says,  "  in  order  to  maintain  the  immo- 
bility of  the  earth  is  as  little  reasonable  as  to 
require,  in  order  to  see  Venice  from  the  top  of 
the  Campanile,  that  the  whole  panorama  should 
move  round  the  spectator  instead  of  his  simply 
moving  his  head." 

The  primitive  notion  of  the  stars  as  fixed  in 
a  crystal  sphere  had  been  long  overthrown.  And, 
supposing  accordingly  that  the  stars  were  distinct 
and  independent  bodies,  it  was  difficult  to  imagine 
laws  controlling  their  motion  about  a  fixed  earth 
that  should  result  in  revolutions  timed  uniformly 
for  all  and  at  the  same  time  of  enormous  rapidity. 
Salviati  makes  the  improbable  to  be  practically 
impossible  by  referring  to  the  phenomenon  now 
known  as  the  "precession  of  the  equinoxes,"  in 
virtue  of  which  the  direction  of  the  earth's  axis 
in  space  moves  slowly,  completing  a  revolution 
in  about  26,000  years.  The  system  of  stellar 
motions  that  would  be  necessary  to  account  for 
this  would  be  inconceivably  complex. 

A  great  part  of  the  third  "Day"  is  devoted 
to  the  question  of  stellar  parallax.  In  this  lay 
one  of  the  most  serious  difficulties  of  the  Coperni- 
can  theory.  If  it  was  true  that  the  earth  swept 
round  the  sun  in  a  circular  orbit  some  two  hundred 

254      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES     [1630 

millions  of  miles  in  diameter,  then  it  must  follow 
that  at  one  time  of  the  year  we  should  get  an 
entirely  different  view  of  the  arrangement  of  the 
stars  from  that  obtained  six  months  earlier  or  later 
when  the  earth  was  at  the  opposite  point  of  its 
orbit.  The  nearer  stars  should  in  fact  undergo 
displacements  in  their  apparent  positions  relative 
to  those  more  distant  The  answer  to  this  was 
that  these  displacements  probably  did  take  place, 
but  were  too  minute  to  be  detected.  But  this 
answer,  though  strictly  true,  implied  that  the 
distances  of  even  the  nearest  stars  were  great 
beyond  all  comprehension ;  and  this  in  turn  implied 
that  the  visible  size  of  the  stars  indicated  a  real 
size  of  inconceivable  dimensions.  The  latter  diffi- 
culty was  reduced  by  Salviati's  assertion  that  the 
visible  size  of  a  star  was  an  optical  illusion  ;  the 
telescope  showed  the  stars  to  be  sharp  points,  in 
contrast  to  the  planets  which,  though  small  to  the 
eye,  really  did  possess  visible  dimensions.  But 
the  former  difficulty  remained,  and  nearly  two 
centuries  passed  before  Bessel  made  the  first  rough 
measurement  of  a  stellar  parallax.  His  method 
was  essentially  that  suggested  in  the  dialogue 
by  Salviati;  though  the  results  obtained  indicated 
for  the  star  61  Cygni,  a  distance  which  would 
probably  have  astonished  even  Galileo  himself.1 

With  the  difficulties  of  stellar  parallax  still 
uppermost  in  his  mind,  Simplicio  looks  at  the 
utilitarian  side  of  the  question,  and  remarks  : — 

"  All   this   is   very   well,   and   it   is   not   to   be 

1  More  recent  measurements  fix  the  distance  of  this  star  at  about 
400,000  times  that  of  the  sun. 

1632]  THIRD    "DAY"  255 

denied  that  the  heavens  may  surpass  in  extent 
the  capacity  of  our  imaginations,  nor  that  God 
might  have  created  them  a  thousand  times  larger 
than  they  are.  But  we  ought  not  to  admit 
anything  to  be  created  in  vain,  or  useless  in  the 
universe.  Now  we  see  this  beautiful  arrangement 
of  the  planets  disposed  round  the  earth  at  distances 
proportioned  to  the  effects  they  are  to  produce 
upon  us  for  our  benefit.  To  what  purpose,  then, 
should  such  a  vast  vacancy  be  afterwards  inter- 
posed between  the  orbit  of  Saturn  and  the  starry 
spheres,  containing  not  a  single  star,  and  altogether 
useless  and  unprofitable?  to  what  end?  and  for 
whose  use  and  advantage  ?  " 

SALVIATI  :  "  Methinks  we  arrogate  too  much  to 
ourselves,  Simplicio,  when  we  assume  that  the 
care  of  us  alone  is  the  adequate  and  sufficient 
work  and  limit  beyond  which  the  Divine  wisdom 
and  power  do  nothing  and  dispose  of  nothing. 
I  feel  confident  that  nothing  is  omitted  by  God's 
providence  which  concerns  the  government  of 
human  affairs ;  but  that  there  may  not  be  other 
things  in  the  universe  dependent  on  His  supreme 
power,  I  cannot,  with  what  power  of  reasoning 
I  possess,  bring  myself  to  believe.  So  that  when 
I  am  told  of  the  uselessness  of  an  immense  space 
interposed  between  the  orbits  of  the  planets  and 
the  fixed  stars,  I  reply  that  there  is  temerity  in 
attempting  by  feeble  reason  to  judge  the  works 
of  God,  and  in  calling  vain  and  superfluous  every 
part  of  the  universe  which  is  no  use  to  us."1 

SAGREDO:  "Say  rather  that  we  have  no  means 
of  knowing  what  is  of  use  to  us.  I  hold  it  to  be 
one  of  the  greatest  pieces  of  arrogance  and  folly 
that  can  be  in  this  world  to  say,  because  I  know 

1  It  is  in  the  course  of  this  discussion  that  Galileo  says,  "The 
space  Comprised  between  Saturn  and  the  fixed  stars  is,  perhaps, 
occupied  by  invisible  planets."  The  discovery  of  Uranus  and  Neptune 
has  confirmed  this  conjecture. 

256      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES      [1630- 

not  what  use  Jupiter  and  Saturn  are  to  me,  that 
therefore  these  planets  are  superfluous.  Nay 
more,  that  there  are  no  such  bodies  in  existence. 
To  understand  what  effect  is  worked  upon  us  by 
this  or  that  heavenly  body  (since  you  will  have 
it  that  all  their  uses  must  have  a  reference  to 
us)  it  would  be  necessary  to  remove  it  for  a  while, 
and  then  the  effect  which  I  find  no  longer  pro- 
duced on  me,  I  may  say  depended  on  that  body. 
Besides,  who  will  dare  to  say  that  the  space  (called 
too  vast  and  useless)  between  Saturn  and  the  fixed 
stars  is  void  of  other  bodies  belonging  to  the 
universe?  Must  it  be  so  because  we  do  not  see 
them?  Then,  the  four  Medicean  planets  and  the 
companions  of  Saturn  came  into  the  heavens  when 
we  began  to  see  them,  and  not  before!  And  by 
the  same  rule  the  innumerable  host  of  fixed  stars 
did  not  exist  before  men  saw  them.  The  nebulae, 
which  the  telescope  shows  us  to  be  constellations 
of  bright  and  beautiful  stars,  were,  till  the  telescope 
was  discovered,  only  white  flakes!  Oh,  presump- 
tuous! rather,  oh  rash  ignorance  of  man."  l 

Towards  the  end  of  the  third  "Day,"  reference 
is  made  to  an  annual  rotation  of  the  earth  about 
an  axis  perpendicular  to  the  plane  of  its  motion. 
In  ancient  and  mediaeval  times  a  simple  state  of 
revolution  of  the  earth  round  the  sun  would  have 
implied  a  revolution  in  which  the  same  side  of 
the  earth  was  always  turned  to  the  sun ;  the 

1  Compare  this  with  the  "arguments"  of  Galileo's  peripatetic 
opponents: — "Animals  that  are  capable  of  motion  have  joints  and 
limbs ;  the  earth  has  neither  joints  nor  limbs,  therefore  it  does  not 
move.  The  planets,  the  sun,  and  the  fixed  stars  are  all  of  one 
substance,  that  is  to  say,  of  the  substance  of  stars  ;  therefore  they 
either  move  together  or  stand  still  together.  It  is  to  the  last  degree 
unseemly  to  place  among  the  celestial  bodies,  which  are  divine  and 
pure,  the  earth,  which  is  a  sewer  of  filth."  "Difesa  di  Scipione 
Chiaramonti,"  Florence,  1633. 

i632]  THIRD     "DAY"  257 

moon,  according  to  this  description,  was  said  to 
revolve  simply  round  the  earth  without  any  rotation 
of  her  own,  which  is  not  the  way  in  which  her 
motion  would  be  described  at  the  present  day. 
Accordingly,  in  stating  the  earth  to  have  a  revolu- 
tion round  the  sun  combined  with  a  rotation  about 
an  axis,  Copernicus  would  have  implied  that  that 
axis  continuously  changed  its  position  in  space 
so  as  to  be  always  in  the  same  direction  relatively 
to  the  sun.  To  indicate  that  as  a  matter  of  fact 
the  position  of  the  axis  with  regard  to  the  sun 
varied,  but  remained  the  same  with  regard  to  space, 
Copernicus  had  to  combine  with  his  two  chief 
motions  a  third  one  of  annual  rotation. 

This  third  rotation  was  therefore  a  complication 
only  introduced  by  confusion  in  geometrical 
thought.  That  the  actual  state  of  things  is  quite 
simple  is  illustrated  by  Salviati  by  a  reference 
to  the  motion  of  a  ball  floating  in  a  basin  of 
water.  If  the  basin  be  held  in  the  hand,  the 
ball  floating  at  or  near  the  centre,  and  the 
experimenter  turn  round  steadily  on  his  feet, 
holding  the  basin  in  front  of  him,  the  ball 
remains  in  a  position  which  is  unaltered  with 
reference  to  the  walls  and  furniture  of  the  room  ; 
although  with  reference  to  the  man  supporting  the 
basin,  it  might  be  said  to  have  spun  once  com- 
pletely round.  And  so  with  regard  to  the  annual 
rotation  spoken  of  by  Copernicus,  Salviati  says  : 
"What  other  is  the  earth  than  a  globe  librated 
in  tenuous  and  yielding  air?  That  which  you 
think  to  be  a  revolution  in  itself,  you  will  find 
to  be  a  not  moving  at  all,  but  a  continuing  to 


258      CONTENTS    OF    DIALOGUES     [1630- 

be  altogether  immovable  in  respect  of  all  that  is 

It  is  here  that  he  speaks  so  approvingly  of 
the  labours  of  his  great  English  contemporary, 
William  Gilbert  of  Colchester.1  He  explains 
Gilbert's  theory  of  the  earth  as  a  huge  magnet, 
and  develops  it,  mentioning  incidentally  some 
observations  and  experiments  of  his  own  on 
magnetic  phenomena — notably  on  the  increased 
power  of  magnets  when  suitably  provided  with 

The  attractive  and  repulsive  properties  of 
magnets  reminded  Simplicio  that  in  considering 
the  causes  of  natural  phenomena,  some  effects 
are  attributed  to  sympathy  which  is  an  agreement 
and  mutual  appetency  between  things  having  the 
same  qualities,  while  other  effects  are  due  to 
antipathy  when  things  naturally  repel  and  abhor 
each  other. 

"And  thus/'  cuts  in  the  wag,  Sagredo,  "with 
these  two  words  they  are  able  to  give  a  reason 
for  a  great  number  of  effects  which  we  see,  not 
without  admiration,  to  be  produced  in  nature. 
But  it  strikes  me  that  this  mode  of  philosophising 
is  not  unlike  the  style  in  which  one  of  my  friends 
used  to  paint.  On  his  canvas  he  would  write 
with  chalk:  here  a  fountain  with  Diana  ahd  her 
nymphs;  here  some  harriers;  in  this  corner  a 
huntsman  with  a  stag's  head;  the  rest  may  be 
a  landscape  of  wood  and .  mountain ;  and  what 
remains  to  be  done  may  be  put  in  by  the  colour- 

1  "  I  glorify,"  says  Salviati,  "  I  admire,  and  I  envy  this  great  author 
his  marvellous  conception  of  the  earth  as  a  magnet."  Quite  at  the 
end  of  this  "  Day  "  Gilbert  and  his  opinions  are  again  referred  to.  See 

i633]  FOURTH    "DAY"  259 

man.  Thus  he  flattered  himself  that  he  had 
painted  the  story  of  Acta&on,  having  contributed 
nothing  towards  it  beyond  the  names!" 

The  fourth  "Day"  of  the  Dialogue  is  devoted 
entirely  to  an  examination  of  the  cause  of  the 
tides,  and  is  a  development  and  extension  of 
his  letter  on  the  same  subject  to  Cardinal  Orsini, 
1616.  It  is  a  singular  circumstance  that  the 
argument,  upon  which  Galileo  mainly  relied  as 
furnishing  a  physical  demonstration  of  the  truth 
of  the  Copernican  theory,  rested  on  a  misconcep- 
tion. The  ebb  and  flow  of  the  tides,  he  said, 
are  a  visible  effect  of  the  terrestrial  double  move- 
ment, since  they  are  the  combined  result  of  (i) 
the  earth's  daily  rotation,  and  (2)  the  inequality 
of  the  absolute  velocities  of  the  various  parts  of 
the  earth's  surface  in  its  revolution  round  the 
sun.  To  this  notion  he  attached  capital  importance, 
and  he  ridiculed  Kepler's  suggestion  (which, 
however,  was  nearer  the  truth)  that  the  attraction 
of  the  moon  was  in  some  way  concerned  in  the 
phenomenon.  That  the  influence  of  the  moon  was 
paramount  had  indeed  been  recognised  in  ancient 
times,  but  a  scientific  explanation  in  detail  was 
not  to  be  expected  until  the  law  of  universal 
gravitation  had  been  fully  realised. 

This  last  part  of  the  dialogue  is  therefore  of 
little  value,  and  may  be  passed  over  in  considering 
the  discussions  of  the  first  three  "Days."  The 
chief  work  of  the  dialogue  was  to  establish  the 
Copernican  theory;  which,  first  promulgated  in 
the  days  when  human  vision  was  unaided,  had 
been  found  by  Galileo  to  be  supported  by  all 


evidence  that  could  be  gathered  by  means  of  his 
new  invention.  The  problem — if  it  may  be  still 
said  to  exist — takes  a  slightly  different  form  at 
the  present  day.  So  far  are  we  now  from  the 
pre- Copernican  theory  of  a  fixed  earth,  that  we 
look  upon  no  single  object  in  the  whole  universe  as 
fixed.  The  sun  itself  has  its  motion  amongst 
the  other  visible  stars ;  the  present  direction  and 
rate  of  that  motion  are  roughly  known.  Accord- 
ingly, the  alternative  which  offered  itself  to  the 
controversialists  of  Galileo's  day,  that  either  the 
sun  or  the  earth  was  stationary,  does  not  concern 
us ;  both  of  the  bodies  are  moving.  They  move, 
however,  in  such  a  way  that  the  motion  of  the 
sun  is  sensibly  uniform,  while  the  earth  and  the 
other  planets  can  only  be  reasonably  spoken  of 
as  travelling  around  him  while  he  with  his  family 
of  satellites  is  advancing  through  space. 

With  this  understanding  as  to  what  is  meant 
when  we  speak  of  the  sun,  though  not  stationary, 
being  the  centre  of  the  planets'  motions,  it  need 
scarcely  be  mentioned  that  the  Copernican  theory 
has  acquired,  since  the  days  of  Newton,  an  enormous 
mass  of  evidence,  which  in  a  work  of  the  present 
type  it  would  be  out  of  place  to  discuss.  But 
whereas  Copernicus  and  Galileo  made  it  a  question 
practically  for  common-sense  to  choose  between 
the  simple  and  the  geometrically  complex, 
dynamical  evidence  has  now  made  any  alternative 
to  the  simple  explanation  not  only  difficult  but 
altogether  beyond  comprehension  ;  the  main  points 
of  the  Copernican  doctrines  are  proved  as 
absolutely  as  anything  in  science  can  be  proved. 

i632]     VALUE  OF  THE   DIALOGUES      261 

This  beautiful  volume  now  so  forgotten,  of 
which  we  feel  we  have  given  an  inadequate  idea, 
is  not  simply  a  treatise  on  astronomical  and 
physical  science — a  powerful  plea  for  Copernicanism 
in  a  country  and  at  a  time  when  all  science  was 
"  vehemently  suspected";  it  is  a  book  worthy 
of  Socrates — a  book  which  ought  to  be  studied 
by  those  who  love  free  observation  and  experiment, 
free  discussion  and  circulation  of  ideas — in  a  word, 
freedom  of  thought,  as  the  first  essential  to  the 
progress  of  science  and  of  our  common  humanity. 
In  the  words  of  Professor  Play  fair : — 

"One  forms  a  very  imperfect  idea  of  Galileo 
from  considering  the  discoveries  and  inventions  only, 
numerous  and  splendid  as  they  are,  of  which  he  was 
the  author.  It  is  by  following  his  reasonings  and 
by  pursuing  the  train  of  his  thoughts  in  his  own 
elegant  though  somewhat  diffuse  exposition  of  them 
that  we  become  acquainted  with  the  fertility  of  his 
genius — with  the  sagacity,  penetration,  and  com- 
prehensiveness of  his  mind.  The  service  which  he 
rendered  to  real  knowledge  is  to  be  estimated,  not 
only  from  the  truths  which  he  discovered,  but  from 
the  errors  which  he  detected — not  merely  from  the 
sound  principles  which  he  established,  but  from  the 
pernicious  idols  which  he  overthrew.  The  Dialogues 
on  the  Two  Systems  are  written  with  such  singular 
felicity  that  one  reads  them  at  the  present  day, 
when  the  truths  contained  in  them  are  known  and 
admitted,  with  all  the  delight  of  novelty,  and  feels 
one's  self  carried  back  to  the  period  when  the 
telescope  was  first  directed  to  the  heavens,  and 
when  the  earth's  motion  with  its  train  of  consequences 
was  proved  for  the  first  time.  Of  all  the  writers 
who  have  lived  in  an  age  which  was  only  emerging 
from  ignorance  and  barbarism,  Galileo  has  most 

262    CONTENTS  OF  DIALOGUES     [1630-1632 

entirely  the  tone  of  true  philosophy,  and  is  most 
free  from  the  contamination  of  the  time  in  taste, 
sentiment,  and  opinion/'1 

*  "Playfair's  Dissertation,"  Supp.  "Ency.  Brit,"  7th  Ed.  The 
Dialogues  occupy  the  whole  of  vol.  i.  in  Albert's  edition  of  the  Works 
of  Galileo,  1842-56,  and  two- thirds  of  vol.  vii.  of  Favaro's  edition.  An 
English  translation  was  brought  out  by  Thomas  Salusbury  in  1661. 




BY  the  beginning  of  January  1632,  the  printing  of 
the  Dialogues  was  so  far  advanced,  that  on  the  3rd 
Galileo  was  able  to  inform  his  friend  Cesare  Marsili 
at  Bologna  that  the  work  would  be  ready  in  ten 
or  twelve  days.  It  did  not,  however,  appear  till 
February.  On  the  22nd  of  that  month  Galileo 
presented  copies  to  the  Grand  Duke  (his  former 
pupil)  to  whom  the  work  was  dedicated,  and  to 
other  members  of  the  Medici  family.  Next  day  he 
sent  thirty-two  copies  to  Marsili ;  and  had  a  number 
handsomely  bound  for  friends  and  patrons  in  Rome, 
but  they  could  not  be  despatched,  owing  to  the  con- 
tinued prevalence  of  the  plague.  Indeed,  it  was 
not  till  May  that  two  unbound  copies  reached  the 
Eternal  City.  One  of  these  came  into  the  hands  of 
Cardinal  Francesco  Barberini  (the  Pope's  nephew), 
who  lent  it  to  Castelli. .  The  latter  writing  to 
Galileo,  29th  May,  expressed  his  admiration  for  the 
work  which  surpassed  all  his  expectations.1  Shortly 
afterwards,  Cohte  Filippo  Magalotti,  Galileo's  friend 

1  In  a  previous  letter,  26th  September  1631,  the  good  Father  vowed 
that  when  the  book  appeared  he  would  read  no  others  than  it  and  his 


and,  from  his  relationship  to  the  Barberini  family 
an  influential  personage,  imported  eight  copies,  and, 
at  the  author's  request,  presented  one  each  to 
Cardinal  Antonio  Barberini,  the  Pope's  brother; 
Niccolini,  the  Tuscan  Ambassador ;  Father  Riccardi 
the  Press  Censor ;  Mgr.  Serristori,  Counsellor  of  the 
Inquisition  or  Holy  Office;  and  the  Jesuit  Father, 
Leon  Santi. 

While  these  copies  were  being  eagerly  read  in 
Rome,  and  passed  from  hand  to  hand,  the  book  had 
been  circulating  in  all  parts  of  Italy,  in  spite  of  the 
obstacles  to  communication  caused  by  the  plague. 
The  applause  with  which  it  was  received  by  all  men 
of  independent  minds  was  tremendous ;  but  in  this 
paean   of  praise  there   was    one    solitary   note   of 
warning — a  note  which  would  probably  have  been 
unheeded  even  if  it  came  in  time.     Paolo  Aproino, 
having  read  a  MS.  copy  which  Galileo  had  sent  to 
Micanzio  at  Venice,  begged  his  friend  to  write  and 
advise  the  author  to  pause  ere  he  printed  a  book 
containing  such  startling  doctrines.   Micanzio  thought 
it  better  that  Aproino  should  himself  write,  which  he 
did  on  1 3th  March — a  month  too  late.     Aproino  s 
advice  was  to  send  MS.  copies  to  the  public  libraries 
in  the  capitals  of  Europe,  with  permission  for  copies 
to  be  made  by  those  who  might  wish  to  have  them. 
This  would  prevent  the  dissemination  of  his  revolu- 
tionary doctrines  amongst  the    ignorant    and    ill- 
disposed  who  would  only  use  them  as  a  weapon  for 
his  destruction,   while  as   to   the  enlightened  and 
unprejudiced,  no  one  would  grudge  the  expense  of  a 
written  copy  of  such  a  precious  work. 

Great  as  was  the  applause  on  the  one  side,  so  on 

i633]     RECEPTION  OF  DIALOGUES      265 

the  other  side  was  the  consternation  which  the  book 
created  among  the  followers  of  the  old  school  of 
thought.  The  educated  world  of  Italy  was  then 
divided  into  two  hostile  camps — that  of  Aristotle 
and  Ptolemy  on  the  one  side ;  and  that  of  Coper- 
nicus, Galileo,  and  Kepler  on  the  other.  In  the 
first  were  to  be  found  blind  worship  of  authority, 
and  unquestioning  adherence  to  ancient  doctrine ; 
in  the  second,  freedom  of  thought,  research,  recog- 
nition of  demonstrated  truths — in  a  word,  progress. 
As  was  to  be  expected,  the  first-named  party  was 
the  most  numerous  and  noisy,  and  it  was  reinforced 
by  all  those  who  opposed  the  innovators  from 
interested  motives.  Foremost  amongst  these  were 
the  members  of  the  Order  of  Jesus.  They  claimed 
for  themselves  the  monopoly  of  instruction,  and  the 
first  rank  in  the  learned  world,  and  were  jealous  of 
all  intruders.  Galileo  was  therefore  in  every  way 
inconvenient  to  these  people.  Besides,  had  he  not 
measured  swords  with  distinguished  members  of  the 
Order,  as  Fathers  Scheiner  and  Grassi  and  (unfor- 
givable offence)  had  he  not  worsted  them?  And 
now  his  Dialogues  appeared  in  which  some  old 
sores  are  re-opened ;  this  revolutionary  book  must 
be  suppressed  at  all  costs,  and  with  it  its  detested 

Father  Riccardi,  the  censor,  was  the  first  to 
announce  the  coming  battle.  One  day  early  in 
August  he  remarked  to  Conte  Magalotti,  "the 
Jesuits  will  now  persecute  Galileo  with  the  utmost 
bitterness."1  It  is  important  to  establish  this  fact 
Scheiner  in  a  conversation  with  Torricelli  would 
*  Letter,  Magalotti  to  Guiducci,  ;th  August  1632. 


say  little  about  the  Dialogues,  he  found  the  digres- 
sions tedious  (and  no  wonder,  for  some  of  them 
referred  to  himself),  he  did  not  wish  to  say  much 
on  the  subject,  but,  he  significantly  added,  "Galileo 
has  treated  me  very  badly." x  Then  Scheiner  himself, 
writing  to  Gassendi  of  Paris,  23rd  February  1633, 
says  : — 

"In  these  Dialogues  the  author  has  made  null 
all  my  mathematical  researches,  and  has  laid  violent 
hands  on  my  '  Rosa  Ursina,'  on  my  discovery  of  the 
annual  movement  of  the  Sun-spots,  and  of  that  of 
the  sun  himself.  I  am  preparing  to  defend  myself 
and  the  truth."2 

Before  the  date  of  his  conversation  with 
Magalotti  just  mentioned,  it  came  to  the  ears  of 
Riccardi,  that  some  " ill-disposed  persons7'  were 
trying  to  discover  something  in  the  book  which 
could  form  the  basis  of  an  accusation  against  its 
author;  they  found  something  on  the  engraved 
title-page !  The  words  "  Dialogo  di  Galileo  Galilei, 
Linceo,  al  Ser™.  Ferd.  II  Gran.  Duca  di  Toscana" 
are  printed  on  the  field  of  a  pavilion,  with  the 
five  palle  or  balls,  the  armorial  bearings  of  the 
Medici,  and  surmounted  by  the  Grand  Ducal  crown. 
Below,  on  the  shore  of  a  sea  stand  three  persons 
disputing — Aristotle,  Ptolemy,  and  Copernicus,  the 
two  latter  having  their  names  printed  on  the  edge 

1  Letter,  Torricelli  to  Galileo,  nth  September  1632. 

s  "  The  Rosa  Ursina "  was  published  in  1630,  and  was  a  fierce 
attack  on  Galileo  personally.  No  direct  answer  was  made,  but  in 
several  passages  in  the  Dialogues  the  book  received  some  hard 
knocks,  as  Scheiner  intimates  in  the  above  extract  This  Jesuit,  if  not 
the  leader  of  the  new  crusade  against  Galileo,  was  certainly  one  of 
the  foremost  and  most  relentless  of  his  enemies.  For  further  proof  of 
the  complicity  of  the  Jesuits,  see  pp.  284  and  342  infra. 

Title-Page  of  Dialogue  of  1632. 

{To  face  p.  266, 

1633]        DENOUNCED  BY  JESUITS         267 

of  their  mantles.  At  their  feet  is  the  device  of 
three  dolphins,  surrounded  by  a  narrow  band, 

bearing  a  motto  and  the  monogram  ^B — the  whole 

being  the  business  sign  of  the  printer,  G.  B.  Landini. 
This  title-page  was  impugned  as  not  having  been 
submitted  for  ecclesiastical  approval,  and  particularly 
they  expatiated,  with  more  malice  than  wit,  upon 
the  meaning  of  the  three  dolphins*  device;  it  re- 
minded them  so  much  of  the  three  bees  of  the 
Papal  arms !  It  was  a  great  relief  to  Riccardi's 
mind  when  Magalotti  pointed  out  that  the  same 
device  appeared  on  nearly  all  the  works  which 
issued  from  the  Landini  press  at  Florence,  where 
also  this  book  was  printed. 

This  shot,  then,  had  not  taken  effect,  and  the 
"  ill-disposed  persons  "  had  to  find  some  other  mode 
of  attack.  They  now  brought  against  the  author 
the  two-fold  charge  (i)  that  the  preface  was  printed 
in  different  type  from  the  rest  of  the  book,  which 
was  true,  but  was  simply  a  necessity  of  the  printer ; I 
and  (2)  that  some  weighty  arguments  against  the 
Copernican  theory,  which  the  Holy  Father  had 
brought  forward  in  conversation  with  Galileo  in 
1624,  were  not  in  the  printed  book,  although  it 
was  a  condition  that  they  should  be.  This  charge 
was  not  true,  for  the  "  weighty  arguments  "  were  in 
reality  only  one,  and  this,  as  we  have  seen,  was 
duly  introduced  at  the  end  of  the  work,  where  it 

1  After  receiving  the  Imprimatur  for  Rome,  and  foreseeing  no 
further  difficulty,  Galileo  had  begun  to  set  up  his  book,  and  by  i6th 
August  1631  about  one-third  of  the  volume  was  in  print.  Hence  the 
preface,  which  went  to  press  later,  had  to  be  printed  on  a  separate 
sheet,  and  in  different  type. 


was  appropriately  put  into  the  mouth  of  Simplicio, 
who  gave  it  as  an  argument  which  he  had  from  "  a 
very  eminent  and  learned  personage  "  (p.  248  ante}. 
Foiled  again,  the  assailants  now  fastened  on 
the  very  natural  circumstance  that  the  "  weighty 
argument"  was  placed  in  the  mouth  of  Simplicio, 
the  defender  of  Ptolemy.  Knowing  the  Pope's 
weaknesses,  vanity,  arrogance,  and  ambition,1 
they  made  him  believe  that  by  Simplicio — the 
simpleton — no  other  was  intended  than  Urban 
VIII.  himself!  One  would  have  thought  this 
impossible  with  this  shrewd  old  man  (seeing  the 
friendly  relations  which  up  to  this  had  subsisted 
between  him  and  Galileo),  but  it  is  beyond  all  doubt 
that  it  was  so,  and  it  put  his  Holiness  in  a  terrible 
rage.  While  in  this  condition  they  easily  per- 
suaded him  that  the  Copernican  doctrine  ran 
counter  to  the  dogmas  of  the  Catholic  faith,  and 
after  this  it  was  not  difficult  for  them  to  show  that 
the  Dialogues,  which  were  a  defence  of  that 
doctrine  under  a  flimsy  veil,  would  do  incalculable 
injury  to  the  Church.  Having  thus  worked  on  the 
Pope's  fears,  they  easily  persuaded  him  that  in  this 
work  Galileo  had  again,  though  under  concealment, 
dared  to  interpret  the  Scriptures ;  he  was  therefore 
rebellious ;  and  he  was  further  deceitful  in  that  he 
obtained  the  Imprimatur  by  cunning  devices. 

1  He  wished  to  be  thought  another  Leo  X.  So  vain  was  he  that 
he  caused  documents  to  be  forged  proving  his  family  to  be  one  of  the 
oldest  and  most  noble  of  the  Florentine  stock.  He  is  noted  in  history 
for  three  things :  (i)  excommunication  of  all  who  took  snuff  in  churches, 
1624  j  (2)  persecution  of  Galileo,  1632-42 ;  and  (3)  the  foolish 
campaign  against  the  Duchy  of  Castro,  "Guerra  di  Castro," 

1 633]  PLAN     OF    CAMPAIGN  269 

Although  the  safety  of  the  Church  and  the 
vindication  of  its  decrees  were  the  ostensible 
reasons  for  the  subsequent  proceedings  against 
Galileo,  it  would  not  be  far  from  the  truth  to  say 
that  revenge  for  an  assumed  personal  insult  was  the 
primary  and  determining  factor.1  Without  this 
personal  motive  the  storm  may  have  blown  over  as 
other  and  equally  threatening  ones  had  previously 
done.  Urban  VIII.  and  many  of  the  high 
dignitaries  of  the  Church  were,  if  anything, 
Copernicans  (they  certainly  were  not  Ptolemaists, 
and  hardly  even  peripatetics),2  while  others  were 
indifferent  and  cared  little  one  way  or  the  other. 
As  regards  the  Pope  himself,  we  have  seen  his 
letter  of  soth  April  1613,  to  Galileo,  praising  so 
highly  the  book  on  Sun-spots — the  very  work  on 
which  the  prohibition  of  1616  was  based.  We 
have  also  seen  how  delighted  he  was  with  "  II 
Saggiatore"  and  the  "  Reply  to  Ingoli,"  in  both  of 
which  the  Copernican  theory  is  defended ;  and, 
finally,  we  have  Urban's  own  statements  (i)  that 
the  Copernican  doctrine  is  not  heretical,  but  only 
rash,  and  (2)  that  if  it  rested  with  him,  the  decree 
of  1616  would  never  have  been  issued.  All  this 
seems  to  show  that,  if  the  question  of  a  personal 
insult  had  not  arisen,  the  Dialogues  might  have 
weathered  the  storm,  or,  at  the  worst,  been  put  on 
the  Index,  as  was  the  book  of  Copernicus  in  1616, 
"  until  corrected." 

While  these   things   were    passing  secretly  at 

1  See  Galileo's  letter  to  Micanzio,  dated  26th  July  1636,  where  he 
says  the  making  game  of  the    Pope,  as    his  Holiness  had  been 
persuaded,  was  the  primary  cause  of  all  his  troubles. 

2  See  Alberi,  vol.  xvL  p.  326. 

2/o  THE     INQUISITION  [1632- 

Rome,  Galileo  in  Florence  gave  himself  up  to 
unmixed  delight  at  the  great  success  of  his  book. 
His  friends,  such  as  Castelli,  Cavalieri,  Micanzio, 
Campanella,  and  others,  expressed  in  letters  their 
unbounded  admiration.  Thus,  Micanzio,  writing 
on  3rd  July,  says  : — 

"I  had  hardly  time  to  devour  your  book  when 
it  was  taken  from  me  and  lent  from  one  to  another. 
To-day,  no  sooner  do  I  get  it  back  by  main  force, 
than  I  am  obliged  to  send  it  to  the  Commissary 
Antonini  at  Verona,  one  of  our  cleverest  men,  and 
one  who  admires  you  above  all  the  literati  of  the 

Not  one  of  all  his  friends  who  praised  the  book 
so  highly  had  any  foreboding  that  it  was  soon  to 
bring  its  grey-headed  author  before  the  bar  of  the 
Inquisition,  and  least  of  all  Galileo  himself.  He, 
of  course,  expected  the  usual  opposition  from  his 
"  scientific "  opponents,  and  was  prepared  to  meet 
it ;  but  he  considered  himself  secure  from  anything 
like  conflict  with  the  ecclesiastical  authorities. 

One  day,  about  the  middle  of  August,  the  first 
thunder-clap  broke  over  Galileo.  His  publisher 
Landini  received  instructions,  though  for  the  time 
only  provisional,  forbidding  the  further  sale  of  the 
Dialogues.1  The  second  clap,  which  followed  in  a 
few  days,  was  the  news  of  the  appointment  of  a 
special  commission  at  Rome  by  order  of  the  Pope, 
and  under  the  presidency  of  his  nephew,  Cardinal  F. 
Barberini,  to  examine  the  book  and  report.  It  was 
composed  of  Jesuits,  Dominicans,  and  Theatins, 

1  It  appears  this  step  was  taken  on  the  report  of  the  Jesuit  Father 
Inchofer,  one  of  the  counsellors  of  the  Inquisition. 

i633]  SALE   OF   BOOK   INTERDICTED  271 

"  not  one  of  whom  had  any  knowledge  of  mathe- 
matics, or  familiarity  with  abstruse  speculations/1 
all  endeavours  of  Niccolini  and  others  to  get  friends 
of  Galileo,  such  as  Castelli  and  Campanella,  put  on 
the  board  being  vetoed  by  the  Pope.1  Galileo  now 
appealed  to  his  Sovereign  for  protection,  and,  on 
24th  August,  the  chief  Secretary  Cioli  wrote  to 
Niccolini  that  the  Grand  Duke  was  greatly 
surprised  to  learn  that  a  book  which  had  been  laid 
before  the  supreme  authorities  at  Rome  by  the 
author  in  person  ;  had  been  carefully  read  there 
again  and  again,  as  well  as  afterwards  at  Florence  ; 
had,  at  the  author's  request,  been  altered  by  these 
authorities  "as  seemed  good  to  them" ;  and  finally 
had  received  the  Imprimatur  for  Rome  and 
Florence,  should  now,  after  two  years,  be  considered 
suspicious,  and  be  prohibited.  His  Highness  was 
of  opinion  that  this  opposition  must  be  directed 
against  the  person  of  the  author  rather  than  against 
his  book,  so  often  and  so  carefully  read  and  revised 
by  the  proper  authorities.  In  order,  then,  to  inform 
himself  of  the  merits  or  demerits  of  his  servant,  his 
Highness  desires  that  that  which  is  granted  in  all 
disputes  and  before  all  tribunals  should  be  permitted 
to  the  accused,  viz.,  to  defend  himself  against  his 
accusers.  The  Grand  Duke,  therefore,  requests 
that  the  accusations  may  be  sent  to  Florence,  so 
that  the  author,  who  stands  firmly  on  his  innocence, 
may  see  and  answer  them.2 

On  the  same  day  on  which  this  despatch  left 

1  See  letters  of  Campanella  to  Galileo,  dated  3ist  August  and 
25th  September  1632, 

2  The  original  draft  of  this  despatch,  much  of  which  is  in  Galileo's 
handwriting,  is  now  in  the  National  Library,  Florence. 

272  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

Florence  a  mandate  was  issued  from  Rome,  con- 
firming the  provisional  prohibition  of  the  Dialogues, 
and  ordering  Landini  to  send  all  copies  in  stock 
to  Rome.  He  replied  that  the  edition  had  been 
sold  out,  and,  consequently,  he  had  no  copies  to 

On  receipt  of  the  Grand  Duke's  orders,  Nicco- 
lini  hastened  to  carry  them  out,  but  met  with 
more  opposition  than  either  he  or  his  master  had 
expected.  The  Pope  received  him  in  such  a  way 
that  he  thought  the  world  must  be  going  to  pieces, 
and  at  the  first  mention  of  Galileo's  name  the 
Holy  Father  interrupted  him  bluntly  :  "  Your 
Galileo  has  dared  to  meddle  with  things  that  he 
should  have  left  alone — in  fact,  with  the  most  im- 
portant and  dangerous  subjects  that  can  be  stirred 
up  in  these  days."  On  the  Ambassador  remarking 
that  the  book  was  published  with  the  approbation 
of  the  Church,  the  Pope  angrily  replied  that  both 
Galileo  and  his  secretary,  Ciampoli,  had  deceived 
him  on  that  matter.  The  censor,  Riccardi,  had 
also  deceived  him,  "but,"  he  added,  "the  latter 
had  been  himself  deceived,  for  he  had  been  in- 
duced by  fair  speeches  to  approve  the  book,  and 
by  more  fair  speeches  to  allow  it  to  be  printed  in 
Florence."  Thinking  to  save  the  book  from  con- 
demnation, Niccolini  hinted  that  it  was  dedi- 
cated to  the  Grand  Duke.  "  What  of  that  ? "  was 
the  reply,  "I  have  prohibited  books  which  bear 
my  own  name  on  the  title-page."  The  Pope 
added,  "in  charging  a  special  commission  to  ex- 
amine the  book,  instead  of  handing  the  affair  at 
once  to  the  Inquisition,  I  have  followed  a  course 

x633]       COMMISSION    APPOINTED         273 

best  for  Galileo's  interests — he  who  did  not  fear 
to  make  game  of  me."  Niccolini  then  begged 
that  the  accused  may  know  the  charges  against 
him  and  have  an  opportunity  of  justifying  him- 
self, to  which  Urban  curtly  answered :  '*  Galileo 
knows  well  enough  in  what  way  he  has  trans- 
gressed. In  these  matters  of  the  Holy  Office 
nothing  is  ever  done  but  to  pronounce  judgment, 
and  then  summon  to  recant"1 

Two  letters  from  Magalotti,  who  was  usually 
well  informed,  arrived  at  the  same  time  as  this 
despatch,  both  dated  4th  September,  one  to 
Mario  Guiducci,  the  other  to  Galileo.  Magalotti's 
news  was  on  the  whole  reassuring.  From  the 
opinions  of  persons  present  at  the  sittings  of 
the  commission,  he  thought  he  could  say  that 
matters  would  not,  go  so  far  as  condemnation  of 
the  Copernican  doctrine  "  by  supreme  authority."2 
He  thought  with  Riccardi  that  they  would  not 
entirely  prohibit  the  Dialogues,  but  only  " correct" 
them,  so  as  to  sustain  the  decree  of  1616.  He 
advised  (as  Niccolini  also  had  done)  the  utmost 
patience  and  circumspection,  and  to  confer  with 
Cardinal  F.  Barberini  rather  than  with  the  Pope 
himself,  "for  reasons  which  it  is  not  necessary  to 

The  special  commission,  after  a  month's  session, 

1  Letter,  Niccolini  to  Cioli,  $th  September  1632.     Here  the  Holy 
Father  shows  his  hand,  Galileo  dared  to  make  game  of  him.    The 
poison  had  taken  effect 

2  It  never  did,  in  fact,  come  to  this  ;  for  the  "supreme  authority" 
is  the  Pope  speaking  ex  Cathedra^  or  an  (Ecumenical  Council.    The 
proceedings  of  1616  were  not  endorsed  by  "supreme  authority," 
and  we  shall  find  this  to  be  the  case  in  the  present  proceeding's 


274  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

submitted  a  long  report  to  the  Pope.  The  docu- 
ment begins  with  a  statement  of  the  course  of  the 
negotiations  for  the  printing  of  the  Dialogues,  and 
then  come  three  indictments  against  the  author : — 

1.  Galileo  had  transgressed   orders   in  deviat- 
ing from  the  hypothetical  standpoint,  by  maintain- 
ing decidedly  that  the  earth  moves   and   that   the 
sun  is  stationary. 

2.  He  has  erroneously  ascribed  the  phenomena 
of  the  tides  to  the  stability  of  the  sun  and  the 
motion  of  the  earth,  which  are  not  true. 

3.  He  has   been   deceitfully  silent    about  the 
command    laid    upon    him    in    1616,   viz.,    to   re- 
linquish altogether  the   opinion   that   the    sun   is 
the  centre  of  the  world  and  immovable  and  that 
the   earth  moves,   nor  henceforth  to   hold,   teach, 
or  defend  it  in  any  way  whatsoever,  verbally  or  in 

Then  follows  the  remark :  "It  now  remains  to 
be  considered  what  proceedings  are  to  be  taken 
against  the  person  of  the  author,  and  against  his 
printed  book."  The  rest  of  the  document  is  taken 
up  with  an  elaboration  of  the  charges  against 
Galileo,  and  a  fuller  account  of  the  negotiations 
for  the  Imprimatur.  These  need  not  detain  us; 
but  in  a  final  clause,  Galileo  is  specifically  charged 
with  having  transgressed  the  order  of  the  Holy 
Office  to  relinquish  (etc.,  as  per  charge  (3)  above). 
This,  then,  was  his  chief  offence;  the  others 
"could  be  corrected  if  the  book  was  thought  to 
be  of  any  value  " ;  but  to  deliberately  and  deceitfully 
transgress  commands,  that,  evidently,  could  not  be 
" corrected"  or  condoned. 

r633]       REPORT    OF    COMMISSION        275 

Here  for  the  first  time  the  minute  of  26th 
February  1616  is  mentioned,  as  to  which  Niccolini 
has  something  of  importance  in  his  despatch  of  nth 
September  to  Cioli.  Reporting  an  interview  with 
the  Master  of  the  Sacred  Palace,  he  says  that 
Riccardi,  after  advising  patience  and  caution,  re- 
peated the  old  stock  complaints,  that  the  Dialogues 
imperilled  the  faith,  that  the  author  did  not  confine 
himself  strictly  to  mathematics,  but  brought  under 
discussion  religion  and  the  Scriptures  [which  is  not 
true],  and  that  the  Papal  orders  as  to  the  preface, 
end,  and  hypothetical  treatment  had  not  been  com- 
plied with — an  extraordinary  assertion  for  one  who 
had  himself  certified  that  they  had  been  complied 
with.  He  then  confided  to  the  Ambassador  as  a 
profound  secret  "that  it  had  been  discovered  in  the 
books  of  the  Holy  Office  that  sixteen  years  ago  (it 
having  been  heard  that  Galileo  entertained  that 
opinion,  and  disseminated  it  in  Florence)  he  was 
summoned  to  Rome,  and  forbidden  by  Cardinal 
Bellarmine,  in  the  name  of  the  Pope  and  the  Holy 
Office,  to  hold  that  opinion.  And  this  alone  is 
enough  to  ruin  him  entirely/1  Evidently  the  paper 
here  hinted  at  is  the  minute  of  26th  February  1616. 
It  will,  therefore,  be  desirable  to  pause  for  a 
moment,  and  read  again  our  remarks  on  p.  166, 
for  our  account  so  far  of  these  new  proceedings 
brings  out  a  point  there  discussed,  which  we  wish 
to  emphasise,  viz.  that  the  minute  is  not  true  to 
the  spirit  of  the  proceedings.  We  have  seen  that 
the  Pope  knew  all  about  the  process  of  1616 — in 
fact,  as  Cardinal  Maffeo  Barberini,  was  an  unwilling 
party  to  it.  If  Galileo  was  then  commanded  to 


relinquish   altogether  his   opinion,   and  henceforth 
not  to  hold,  teach,  or  defend  it  in  any  way  what- 
soever, verbally  or  in  writing,  why  did  Urban  VIII. 
discuss  this  same  opinion  with  him  in   1624?  why 
did  he  openly  approve   "II  Saggiatore"  and   the 
tl  Reply  to  Ingoli "  ?  and  why  in  1630,  when  Galileo 
took  his  Dialogues  to  Rome,  was  he  not  met  with 
a  non-possumus,  and  referred  back  at  once  to  this 
rigid  prohibition  ?     Clearly,  because  this  rigid  pro- 
hibition had  for  him  no  existence — had  no  right  to 
exist,  for  he  knew  it  was  not  intended  that  Galileo 
should  be  forbidden  to  hold,  teach,  or  defend  his 
opinion    in   any   way   whatsoever,   verbally   or    in 
writing,  except  in  case  he  refused  to  be  bound  by 
Cardinal    Bellarmine's   simple   admonition — a   con* 
tingency  which  did  not  arise.     The  minute,  there- 
fore, is  not  true  to  the  spirit  of  the  proceedings, 
and  should  properly  be  treated  as  non-existent.     It 
is,  moreover,  of  no  value  in  law  in  that  it  bears 
no  signatures.     To   base,   then,  a  charge   against 
Galileo  on  such    a  worthless    paper  convicts   his 
persecutors  of   ultra  vires,  and    shows   their  de- 
termination to  punish   him  at  any  price,  even  at 
the  cost  of  a  judicial  crime.1 

Now  let  us  return  to  our  narrative.     A  few  days 

1  The  steps  of  these  new  proceedings  are  also  against  the  theory 
of  a  forgery  with  ulterior  designs.  Were  it  so,  why,  during  the  long 
and  vexatious  negotiations  about  the  Imprimatur^  did  not  the  forgers 
appeal  to  it  at  once,  as  a  bar  to  granting  a  licence  ?  Why,  immediately 
on  the  appearance  of  the  book,  did  they  not  accuse  Galileo  of  break- 
ing his  solemn  promise,  and  call  down  upon  his  head  the  penalty  for 
disobedience  with  which  the  document  threatened  him  ?  Why  have 
recourse  for  months  to  trumpery  charges  and  ignoble  stratagems, 
when  they  could  have  played  this  trump  card  ?  Clearly,  because  its 
existence  was  not  known  to  them  until  the  first  week  in  September 
1632,  when  its  discovery  was  a  surprise  to  all,  friends  and  foes  alike. 

i633]  SUMMONED    TO    ROME  277 

after  Niccolini's  interview  with  Riccardi,  on  the 
1 5th  September,  the  Pope  sent  word  to  the 
Tuscan  Ambassador  that  Galileo's  affairs  would 
be  handed  over  to  the  Inquisition.  At  the  same 
time  the  strictest  secrecy  as  to  this  step  was 
enjoined  on  both  the  Grand  Duke  and  Niccolini, 
with  a  hint  that  otherwise  they  would  be  pro- 
ceeded against,  according  to  the  statutes  of  the 
Holy  Office.  Niccolini,  astounded  by  this  inti- 
mation, hastened  to  the  Pope  to  avert,  if  possible, 
the  danger  of  a  trial,  but  his  pleadings  were  in 
vain.  Urban  was  good  enough  to  say  that  Galileo 
was  still  his  friend,  but  his  opinions  had  been 
condemned  sixteen  years  before,  and  were  in  the 
highest  degree  pernicious  to  the  Church.  On 
23rd  September  the  following  order  was  issued: — 

"His  Holiness  charges  the  Inquisitor  at  Florence 
to  inform  Galileo,  in  the  name  of  the  Holy  Office, 
that  he  is  to  appear  in  the  course  of  the  month 
of  October,  in  Rome,  before  the  Commissary- 
General.  He  must  obtain  a  promise  from  Galileo 
to  obey  this  order,  which  the  Inquisitor  is  to  de- 
liver in  the  presence  of  a  notary  and  witnesses, 
but  in  such  a  way  that  Galileo  shall  know  nothing 
of  their  presence,  so  that  if  he  refuse  to  obey 
they  may  bear  witness  to  his  contumacy/' 

This  order,  which  was  delivered  to  Galileo  on 
ist  October,  and  with  which  he  consented  in 
writing  to  comply,  fairly  overwhelmed  him,  for, 
from  the  secrecy  maintained  in  Rome,  he  was 
wholly  unprepared  for  any  such  measure.  Scarcely 
recovered  from  a  complaint  in  the  eyes  which  had 
lasted  several  months,  suffering  otherwise  in  health, 

278  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

and  at  an  advanced  age,  he  was  now  to  go  to 
Rome  in  the  midst  of  the  plague  (which  had 
broken  out  afresh)  to  appear  before  the  terrible 
Inquisition.  No  wonder  that  he  was  dismayed, 
and  that  in  spite  of  his  promise  "willingly  to 
obey  the  order  in  the  course  of  this  month, 
October,"  he  made  every  effort  to  evade  it  His 
deep  depression  is  evident  from  a  long  and 
pitiable  letter,  of  i3th  October,  to  Cardinal 
Francesco  Barberini  (the  Pope's  nephew),  sent 
through  the  hands  of  Niccolini : — 

"  That  my  Dialogues  recently  published  should 
find  adversaries  was  not  to  be  doubted,  as  your 
Eminence  no  doubt  foresaw,  It  is  in  general  the 
lot  of  all  opinions  which  in  one  way  or  another  run 
counter  to  the  accepted  doctrines.  From  the  recep- 
tion of  my  other  works  I  expected  as  much,  but 
what  I  did  not  expect  was  that  the  hate  of  one  or 
two  of  my  enemies  (furious  at  seeing  the  lustre  of 
their  works  tarnished  by  mine)  would  be  able  so  to 
influence  my  superiors  as  to  make  them  believe  that 
my  works  are  unworthy  of  the  light  of  day,  and 
should  be  stifled.  The  prohibition  of  the  printing 
and  sale  of  my  Dialogues  has  been  a  cruel  blow  to 
me,  but  I  am  consoled  by  the  knowledge  of  the 
extreme  purity  of  my  conscience,  and  by  the  feeling 
that  I  shall  have  no  difficulty  in  justifying  my 

"  I  will  not  conceal  from  your  Eminence  that  the 
injunction  to  present  myself  without  delay  before 
the  tribunal  of  the  Holy  Office  has  afflicted  me 
profoundly.  It  is  impossible  to  think  without 
bitterness  that  the  fruits  of  my  labours  and  studies 
for  so  many  years  (which  gave  to  my  name  in  the 
scientific  world  a  certain  tclai)  should  now  be 
branded  as  criminal.  All  this  depresses  me  to  such 

i633]         GALILEO'S    DEPRESSION          279 

an  extent  as  to  make  me  curse  the  time  I  have 
devoted  to  these  labours — yes,  I  regret  having 
given  to  the  world  so  much  of  my  results.  I  feel 
even  the  desire  to  suppress,  to  destroy  for  ever,  to 
commit  to  the  flames,  what  remains  in  my  hands. 
Thus  I  should  satisfy  the  burning  hate  of  my 
enemies.  These  are  some  of  the  thoughts  which 
afflict  me,  and  increase  the  burden  of  my  seventy 
years ;  they  aggravate  my  numerous  physical 
sufferings,  and  cause  me  persistent  insomnia. 
When  to  these  is  added  a  journey,  rendered 
more  painful  and  dangerous  by  sundry  causes,  I 
am  almost  certain  that  I  shall  not  reach  the  end 
alive.  The  desire  to  live,  common  to  all  men, 
makes  me  implore  the  intercession  of  your 
Eminence,  encouraged  thereto  by  the  kindness 
of  heart  which  distinguishes  you,  and  of  which 
I  as  well  as  others  have  been  the  recipient.  I 
beg  you,  then,  to  represent  to  the  Holy  Father  my 
present  pitiable  situation.  .  .  . 

"Whether  it  be  necessary  to  receive  my 
justification  in  writing,  or  by  viv&  voce,  I  would 
point  out  that  there  are  here  in  Florence  the 
Inquisitor,  the  Archbishop,  and  other  learned 
functionaries  of  the  Church,  who  would  be  able, 
it  seems  to  me,  to  decide  graver  causes  than  mine, 
and  before  whom  I  am  ready  to  appear.  It  is 
hardly  likely  that  in  a  book,  which  has  been 
carefully  examined  by  the  censors,  with  full  power 
to  omit,  to  add  here,  to  correct  there,  there  should 
still  remain  errors  so  grave  that  their  correction, 
or  the  punishment  due  to  them,  should  be  beyond 
the  power  of  the  local  authorities." l 

Before  taking  action  the  Ambassador  consulted 

1  By  the  same  post  Michelangelo,  the  younger,  wrote  to  the  same 
Cardinal,  entreating  him,  out  of  consideration  for  the  philosopher's 
age  and  infirmities,  to  try  all  means  to  have  his  affairs  settled  in 
Florence.  See  letter  dated  I2th  October. 

280  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

Castelli  (whom  the  Grand  Duke  had  appointed  as 
his  counsel  in  this  affair)  as  to  the  advisability  of 
delivering  Galileo's  letter  to  the  Cardinal.  It  was 
decided  to  do  so,  and  Niccolini  reported  that  it  was 
received  in  a  very  friendly  way,  with  assurances  of 
his  Eminence's  kindly  disposition  towards  the 
writer.  The  letter  was  discussed  by  the  Holy 
Office  on  nth  November,  in  presence  of  the  Pope; 
but  his  Holiness  would  not  grant  the  prayer,  and 
ordered  that  the  writer  must  be  compelled  to  come 
to  Rome.  Niccolini  was  unwearied  in  trying  to 
get  the  affair  settled  in  Florence,  but  to  no  purpose. 
The  Pope  had  seen  Galileo's  letter  of  I3th  October, 
but  the  journey  to  Rome  could  not  be  dispensed 
with.  "Your  Holiness,"  exclaimed  Niccolini,  " in- 
curs the  danger,  considering  Galileo's  age,  of  his 
being  tried  neither  in  Rome  nor  in  Florence, 
for  I  solemnly  assure  your  Holiness  that  he  may 
die  on  the  way  under  all  these  difficulties  and 
anxieties/'  "  He  can  come  very  slowly/'  replied  the 
Pope,  "  in  a  litter,  with  every  comfort,  but  he  really 
must  be  tried  here  in  person.  And  may  God 
forgive  him  for  having  been  so  deluded  as  to  in- 
volve himself  once  more  in  these  difficulties,  after 
having  been  extricated  by  me  from  his  first 
difficulties  in  1616,  when  I  was  Cardinal."  Much 
discomfited  and  with  profound  sorrow,  Niccolini 
communicated  this  decision  to  Galileo  in  a  letter  on 
1 3th  November,  and  in  a  despatch  to  Cioli  of  the 
same  date. 

A  few  days  later,  igth  November,  Galileo  was 
summoned  before  the  Inquisitor  at  Florence,  in 
accordance  with  the  Papal  orders,  and  was  charged 

i633]         SAD     STATE     OF    HEALTH          281 

to  comply  with  the  mandate  to  go  to  Rome  in  the 
presence  of  a  notary  and  two  witnesses — a  respite 
of  one  month  being  allowed.  The  appointed  time 
had  nearly  arrived  and  no  preparations  had  been 
made  for  starting.  The  Inquisitor  sent  his  vicar  to 
see  Galileo  and  reported  the  result  in  a  letter  to 
Rome  on  i8th  December: — 

"My  vicar  found  Galileo  in  bed ;  he  was  quite 
ready  to  set  out,  but  in  these  times  he  had  no  heart 
for  it ;  besides,  just  now,  owing  to  a  sudden  attack 
of  illness  he  was  not  in  a  condition  to  travel.  He 
has  sent  me  the  enclosed  medical  certificate,  so  that 
I  have  not  failed  to  do  my  duty," 

The  certificate,  dated  i/th  December,  gives  an 
idea  of  the  physical  sufferings  of  this  much-tried 
man,  and  is  signed  by  three  doctors  : — 

"We,  the  undersigned  physicians,  certify  that 
we  have  examined  Signer  Galileo  Galilei  and  find 
that  his  pulse  intermits  every  three  or  four  beats, 
from  which  we  conclude  that  his  vital  powers  are 
affected,  and  at  his  great  age  much  weakened.  To 
the  above  are  to  be  ascribed  frequent  attacks  of 
giddiness,  hypochondriacal  melancholy,  weakness  of 
the  stomach,  sleeplessness,  and  flying  pains  about 
the  body,  to  which  others  also  can  testify.  We 
have  also  observed  a  serious  hernia  with  rupture  of 
the  peritoneum.  All  these  symptoms  are  worthy  of 
notice,  as  under  the  least  aggravation  they  might 
become  dangerous  to  life." 

Little  importance  seems  to  have  been  attached 
to  this  certificate  at  Rome.  Niccolini  (26th 
December)  fears  that  the  ecclesiastical  authorities 
at  Florence  will  be  ordered  to  take  extreme 

282  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

measures.  Castelli  (2 5th  December)  urges  his  old 
and  revered  master  to  set  out.  But  in  this,  as 
in  all  his  letters  of  this  period,  he  shows  that 
he  had  no  idea  of  the  real  nature  of  the  pro- 
ceedings going  on.  Knowing  of  no  crime 
committed  by  his  master  against  the  Holy  Office, 
he  urged  him  to  set  out,  because  he  had  the 
idea  that  Galileo's  persecutors  desired  nothing 
better  than  that  he  should  refuse,  in  order  that 
they  may  decry  him  as  an  obstinate  rebel  against 
Holy  Church. 

On  3oth  December  the  fears  of  Niccolini 
were  realised.  On  that  day  a  Papal  order  was 
issued  to  the  Inquisitor  at  Florence,  stating  that 
neither  his  Holiness,  nor  the  Congregation  of 
the  Holy  Office,  could  or  would  tolerate  further 
evasions.  It  must,  therefore,  be  proved  that 
Galileo's  state  was  really  such  that  he  could  not 
come  to  Rome  without  danger  to  his  life.  A 
commissioner  with  a  physician  would  be  sent  to 
Florence,  who  would  see  Galileo  and  make  a 
true  and  trustworthy  report  on  his  condition, 
and  if  he  were  in  a  state  to  travel  the  commissioner 
must  bring  him  a  prisoner  in  chains.  If  out  of 
consideration  for  his  health,  or  other  danger  to 
life,  his  coming  must  be  postponed,  then  as  soon 
as  he  had  recovered,  or  the  danger  was  over, 
he  was  to  be  brought  a  prisoner  in  irons.  The 
commissioner  and  physician  would  travel  at  Galileo's 
expense,  because  he  had  not  obeyed  the  command 
to  appear  when  his  condition  would  have  per- 
mitted it. 

To  avert  these  extreme  measures  the   Grand 

1633]      POPE  THREATENS  CHAINS        283 

Duke  caused  Galileo  to  be  informed  (nth  January 
1633)  that  it  was  at  last  necessary  to  obey  the 
orders  of  the  supreme  authorities  at  Rome,  and 
in  order  that  he  might  perform  the  journey  more 
comfortably  Grand-ducal  litters  and  a  trustworthy 
guide  would  be  placed  at  his  disposal ;  he  would 
also  be  lodged  in  Rome  in  the  house  of  the 
Grand  Duke's  Ambassador.  The  pitiful  impotence 
of  an  Italian  ruler  of  that  day  in  face  of  the 
Roman  Church  is  painfully  obvious  in  this  decision. 
The  Sovereign  does  not  dare  to  protect  his  subject 
— more,  his  old  and  respected  tutor,  and  the 
greatest  philosopher  of  whom  Italy  could  boast — 
but  gives  him  up  to  the  dreaded  Inquisition,  as 
if  he  were  an  alien  malefactor.  The  Venetian 
republic  was  the  only  State  in  Italy  that  would 
have  asserted  its  independence  (as  it  had  often 
done  before),  and  would  have  refused  to  hand 
over  one  of  its  officials  to  the  Roman  power. 
Indeed,  when  these  proceedings  began,  Francesco 
Morosini  of  Venice  offered  to  reinstate  Galileo 
in  his  old  chair  at  Padua  on  any  conditions  that 
he  chose  to  make,  and  to  print  his  Dialogues  in 
Venice,  Galileo  was  now  suffering  a  bitter  penalty 
for  the  mistake  of  1610  in  deserting  Padua.1 

2Oth  January  1633  was  the  day  fixed  for 
Galileo's  departure.  On  the  I5th  he  addressed 
a  long  letter  to  his  friend  Elia  Diodati  of  Paris, 
a  celebrated  jurist  and  advocate.  It  begins  with 

1  This  old  friend  of  Galileo  was  a  power  in  Venice.  Francesco 
Morosini,  the  son,  was  the  famous  Captain-General  of  the  Republic 
arid  conqueror  of  the  Morea  in  the  war  against  the  Turks  1684^94 ; 
hence  his  name  in  history,  II  Peloponesiaco,  He  was  elected  Doge 
in  1688,  and  died  fighting  at  Nauplia  in  1694,  aged  seventy-six. 

284  THE     INQUISITION  [1632- 

comments  on  the  astronomical  treatises  of  Morin 
and  Fromond  which  Diodati  had  sent  him.  He 
then  goes  on  to  speak  of  his  own  unhappy 

"  Many  years  ago  when  the  stir  about  Copernicus 
was  beginning,  I  wrote  a  letter  [to  the  Grand- 
Duchess  Cristina],  in  which,  supported  by  the 
authority  of  numerous  Fathers  of  the  Church, 
I  showed  what  an  abuse  it  was  to  appeal  so 
much  to  Holy  Scripture  in  questions  of  natural 
science.  As  soon  as  I  am  in  less  trouble  I  will 
send  you  a  copy.  I  say  in  less  trouble,  because 
I  am  just  now  going  to  Rome,  whither  I  have 
been  summoned  by  the  Holy  Office,  which  has 
already  prohibited  the  circulation  of  my  Dialogues. 
I  hear  from  well-informed  persons  that  the  Jesuit 
Fathers  have  insinuated  in  the  highest  quarters 
that  my  book  is  more  execrable  and  injurious  to 
the  Church  than  the  writings  of  Luther  and 
Calvin.  .  .  . 

"My  publisher  is  disconsolate,  the  prohibition 
of  the  book  has  caused  him  a  loss  of  more  than 
2000  scudi,  for  the  sale  of  the  first  edition  and 
a  second  twice  as  large  was  assured.  As  for 
myself,  in  the  midst  of  so  many  afflictions  and 
embarrassments  that  which  afflicts  me  most  is 
the  thought  that  I  must  renounce  my  other  works — 
especially  my  work  on  Motion — or  at  most,  that 
I  cannot  hope  to  see  them  appear  during  my 

On  2Oth  January,  this  man  of  woes  set  out  on 
his  terrifying  journey  in  a  Grand-ducal  litter.  How 
different  the  circumstances  from  those  of  the 
same  journey  eight  years  before!  Prince  Cesi, 
his  entertainer  at  Acquasparta,  was  dead ;  his  own 
health,  never  good  for  many  years  past,  was  now 

1633]  JOURNEY    TO    ROME  285 

a  chronic  cause  of  suffering ;  and  his  eyesight 
had  begun  to  fail.  Not  only  was  the  time  of 
year  unfavourable  (January — February  being  the 
season  when  the  biting  tramontana  is  most 
frequent),  but  the  country  through  which  he  had 
to  pass  was  bleak  and  inhospitable,  and  its  in- 
habitants, always  wild  as  the  winds  that  howl 
across  its  wastes,  were  now  made  more  wild  and 
desperate  by  the  ravages  of  the  plague.  At  the 
frontier  post,  Ponte  Centino,  he  was  obliged  to 
halt  twenty  days  on  account  of  quarantine.  From 
each  halting  place  the  poor  old  man  had  written 
to  his  daughter,  the  one  soul  on  earth  to  whom 
he  knew  he  could  turn  for  sympathy  and  consola- 
tion, and  she,  sweet  consolatrix,  what  can  she 
say  in  reply?  After  expressing  her  grief  at  his 
being  detained  so  long  in  a  wretched  habitation, 
deprived  of  every  comfort,  she  entreats  him  "to 
keep  up  his  spirits,  and  to  put  his  whole  trust  in 
God,  who  never  forsakes  those  who  trust  in  Him." 
What  else  could  she  say  ?  although  at  the  moment 
she  knew  that  some  of  God's  ministers  on  earth 
were  intent  on  his  persecution  for  the  greater 
honour  and  glory  of  His  kingdom. 

On  the  afternoon  of  i3th  February  Galileo 
arrived  in  Rome  and  was  warmly  received  at 
the  Tuscan  Embassy.  On  the  next  day  Niccolini 
informed  the  Grand  Duke  of  his  arrival,  and  that 
next  morning  he  would  introduce  him  to  Cardinal 
F.  Barberini,  and  beg  that  he  be  permitted  to 
remain  at  the  Embassy  instead  of  being  locked  up 
in  the  prison  of  the  Holy  Office.  This  favour  was 
at  once  granted  provisionally,  and  afterwards 

286  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

officially  confirmed,  with  injunctions  to  keep  in- 
doors, and  to  see  no  one  until  further  orders. 
Beyond  this,  and  to  Galileo's  surprise,  no  official 
notice  was  taken  of  his  presence  for  some  time. 
Writing  to  Cioli  on  igth  February,  he  says  : — 

"As  to  the  situation  of  my  affairs  I  can  tell 
you  nothing.  However,  to  judge  by  what  has 
passed,  it  appears  to  me,  as  well  as  to  the 
Ambassador  and  his  staff,  that  the  storm  which 
menaces  me  is  a  little  calmed — at  least  in  appear- 
ance, so  that  I  do  not  give  way  to  discourage- 
ment, as  if  shipwreck  were  inevitable,  and  all 
hope  of  reaching  port  were  gone — the  more  so  as 
following  the  instructions  of  my  master,  Ariosto : 

' I  make  sail  with  modesty 
Amidst  the  raging  billows.7 

"I  keep  to  the  house,  not  thinking  it  proper 
to  go  out  as  if  I  wished  to  show  myself.  Up 
to  the  present  no  official  steps  have  been  taken. 
One  of  "the  members  of  the  Congregation  has 
called  on  me  twice,  conversing  in  the  most  agree- 
able manner,  and  giving  me  an  opportunity  to 
explain  myself,  and  to  show  my  submission,  always 
sincere,  to  the  Church — to  which,  as  far  as  I  could 
see,  he  listened  with  satisfaction.  If  his  visits,  as 
may  be  supposed,  were  made  with  the  knowledge 
or  even  by  order  of  the  Congregation,  I  may  con- 
sider them  as  the  beginning  of  a  milder  treatment, 
far  removed  from  the  cords,  chains,  and  dungeons, 
with  ^  which  I  was  menaced.  I  find  another  con- 
solation in  the  kindly  sentiments  towards  me  ex- 
pressed by  many  influential  personages.  As  it 
appears  to^  me  easier  to  confirm  the  latter  in  their 
good  opinions  than  to  convert  those  who  are  un- 
favourable, I  think,  with  the  Ambassador,  that 
letters  from  our  august  master  to  Cardinals  Scaglia 

i633]  HOPES     AND    FEARS  287 

and  Bentivoglio l  would  be  very  useful,  and  if  you 
agree  with  us  I  beg  that  you  will  obtain  me  this 

The  member  of  the  Congregation  here  referred 
to  was  Mgr.  Serristori.  Niccolini  thought  that 
the  object  of  his  visits  was  to  discover  the  present 
sentiments  and  defensive  arguments  of  the  dreaded 
dialectician,  and  was  inclined  to  think  that  they 
boded  well. 

"  I  think,"  he  writes,  "  I  have  succeeded  some- 
what in  cheering  up  the  good  old  man  by  what 
I  have  told  him  of  the  steps  being  taken  in  his 
favour.  But  he  constantly  expresses  his  wonder 
at  all  this  persecution."2 

The  same  cheerful  confidence  is  expressed  in 
Galileo's  letter  of  25th  February,  to  Bocchineri: — 

"The  Ambassador  thinks  he  perceives  each 
day  a  diminution  in  the  irritation  against  me,  and 
so  does  Father  Castelli,  who  is  for  me  a  zealous 
and  indefatigable  advocate.  We  learn,  in  short, 
that  the  many  and  serious  accusations  against  me 
are  reduced  to  one,  and  that  the  others  have  been 
allowed  to  drop.  Of  that  one  I  shall  be  able 
to  clear  myself  without  much  trouble,  when  the 
grounds  of  my  defence  have  been  heard.  Little 
by  little  I  am  bringing  these  to  the  ears  of  some 
of  the  higher  officials,  who  can  neither  refuse 
absolutely  to  listen  to  my  explanations,  nor  to 
leave  them  entirely  without  reply.  S6  we  con- 
clude that  in  the  end  a  favourable  issue  may  be 
hoped  for. 

"  I  keep  strictly  t6  the  house  which  appears 
to  me  and  my  friends  to  be  the  correct  thing. 
The  Cardinal  Barberini  has  given  me  the  same 

1  Bentivoglio  was  a  pupil  and  disciple  of  Galileo  in  Padua. 

2  Despatch  to  Cioli,  I9th  February  1633. 

288  THE    INQUISITION  [r632- 

counsel,  not  ex  officio  but,  as  he  says,  as  a  friend. 
As  I  have  already  told  you,  not  a  word  official 
has  yet  come  from  the  tribunal.  One  of  the 
counsellors,  my  friend  and  protector  for  many 
years,  has  visited  me  a  couple  of  times  and 
furnished  me  an  occasion  to  explain  myself  freely 
on  several  points,  and  to  show  him  some  papers 
drawn  up  by  me  for  this  case,  with  which  he 
declared  himself  satisfied.1  We  suppose,  not  with- 
out reason,  that  these  visits  have  been  made  with 
the  knowledge,  and,  perhaps,  even  by  order  of  the 
superior  authorities,  with  the  object,  perhaps,  of 
getting  some  general  information.  If  so,  they  could 
not  have  adopted  a  better  course  in  my  interests. 

"  The  deprivation  of  exercise  for  the  last  forty 
days  begins  to  be  prejudicial  to  me,  for  as  you 
know  I  find  exercise  necessary  for  my  health.  My 
digestion  especially  is  troubled ;  viscous  matters 
accumulate ;  and  for  the  last  three  days  painful 
twitchings  in  the  limbs  have  prevented  my  sleeping. 
I  hope  that  a  severe  ^dietetic  regimen  will  effect 
a  cure.  Some  days  ago  I  told  you  how  useful 
would  be  letters  from  his  Highness  to  Cardinals 
Bentivoglio  and  Scaglia,  who,  as  I  am  privately 
informed,  are  well  disposed  towards  me.  If  we 
find  in  the  Congregation  one  or  two  members 
ready  and  resolute  to  defend  innocence  and  the 
truth,  we  may  hope  that  their  voices  will  suffice 
to  impose  silence  on  those  inipiically  inclined. 
Therefore  I  beg  you  to  procure  these  letters 
through  the  medium  of  Signor  Cioli. 

UP-S. — Please  communicate  this  letter  to  my 
daughters  and  Vincenzio." 

Niccolini's  despatch  to  Cioli  of  two  days  later 

1  For  what  was  probably  Galileo's  line  of  defence  at  this  time,  see 
Favaro's  "Nuovi  Contributi  alia  Storia  del  Processo  di  Galileo" 
(Atti  del  R.  Istituto  Veneto,  1894-95),  an  admirable  piece  of  con- 
structive evidence. 

i633]   CHARGES   AGAINST  GALILEO    289 

(2 yth  February)  explains  the  nature  of  this  chief 
accusation : — 

"  Although  I  am  unable  to  say  precisely  what 
stage  Galileo's  affairs  have  reached,  or  what  may 
happen  next,  as  far  as  I  can  learn  the  main  difficulty 
consists  in  this — these  gentlemen  maintain  that  in 
1616  he  was  commanded  neither  to  discuss  the 
question  of  the  earth's  motion,  nor  to  converse 
about  it.  He  says,  on  the  contrary,  that  these 
were  not  the  terms  of  the  injunction,  which  were 
that  that  doctrine  was  not  to  be  held  or  defended. 
He  considers  that  he  has  the  means  of  justifying 
himself,  insomuch  as  it  does  not  at  all  appear  from 
his  book  that  he  does  hold  or  defend  the  doctrine  ; 
or  that  he  regards  it  as  a  settled  question,  as  he 
merely  adduces  the  reasons  kino  inde.  The  other 
charges  appear  to  be  of  less  importance  and  easier 
to  get  over."1 

On  the  same  day  the  Ambassador  in  a  long 
audience  officially  announced  Galileo's  arrival,  and 
expressed  the  hope  that  his  Holiness  would  now 
be  convinced  of  his  reverence  for  things  spiritual, 
especially  in  reference  to  the  matter  in  hand.  The 
Pope  replied  that  he  had  shown  Galileo  a  special 
and  unusual  favour  in  allowing  him  to  stay  at  the 
Ambassador's  house  instead  of  remitting  him  to 
prison.  Niccolini  suitably  acknowledged  the  great 
favour,  and  then  went  on  to  urge  that  in  considera- 
tion of  Galileo's  age  and  bad  health  the  trial  may 
be  hastened  Urban  replied  that  the  proceedings 
of  the  Holy  Office  were  usually  tedious,  and  he 
really  did  not  know  whether  so  speedy  a  termina- 
tion could  be  looked  for.  They  were  still  engaged 
with  the  preliminaries. 

1  See  remarks  on  this  point,  p.  274  ante. 

290  THE     INQUISITION  [1632- 

As  to  the  nature  of  these  preliminaries  nothing 
certain  could  be  learnt,  but  Galileo  continued  to 
hope  for  the  best.  In  a  letter  to  Geri  Bocchineri 
(5th  March),  after  acknowledging  receipt  of  the 
letters  for  Cardinals  Bentivoglio  and  Scaglia  which 
had,  as  he  thought,  a  good  effect,  he  goes  on  to 
say : — 

"As  to  my  affair,  it  goes  on  silently  as  from 
the  first  day.  If  one  can  judge  by  rare  signs, 
the  accusations  have  lost  much  of  their  gravity, 
and  already  some  have  been  entirely  dropped  by 
reason  of  their  evident  insignificance,  which  is  a 
good  presage  for  those  that  remain/* 

A  fortnight  later,  on  igth  March,  he  wrote 
in  a  similar  strain  to  Cioli : — 

"The  same  silence  continues  to  be  observed 
in  my  affair,  and  nothing  more  can  be  ascertained 
than  what  the  Ambassador  has  picked  up  here 
and  there,  and  which  is  sufficiently  vague.  My 
indefatigable  defender,  Benedetto  Castelli,  has  also 
been  secretly  informed,  but  in  the  same  general 
terms,  that  the  proceedings  have  taken  a  slightly 
more  favourable  turn,  thanks  to  the  letters  of 
his  Highness.  Therefore,  as  the  Ambassador 
will  tell  you,  the  same  intervention  with  the 
other  Cardinals,  members  of  the  Congregation, 
would  be  of  great  utility,  the  two  to  whom  letters 
have  already  been  addressed  having  expressed 
themselves  in  this  sense.  I  pray  you  then  to 
obtain  for  me  from  his  Highness  this  additional 

In  spite  of  the  gravity  of  the  situation,  it 
would  seem  that  Galileo  was  careful  to  write  to 
his  daughter  in  such  a  strain  as  to  calm  her 

i633]  WEEKS  OF  WEARY  SUSPENSE   291 

anxiety   throughout   this   weary   time.      Therefore, 
on  1 3th  March,  she  writes  back: — 

"As  matters  are  going  on  so  favourably  I 
will  not  mind  though  your  return  be  delayed,  for 
indeed  my  being  disappointed  is  a  small  thing, 
if  staying  where  you  are  redounds  to  your 
reputation  and  advantage ;  and  what  makes  me 
still  more  easy  is  to  hear  how  honourably  you 
are  treated  by  those  excellent  gentlemen,  and  in 
particular  by  her  Excellency  the  Ambassadress. 
I  am  well  now  because  my  mind  is  at  rest. 
Nevertheless  I  do  not  cease  praying  for  you." 

On  the  same  day  (i3th  March)  on  which 
Maria  Celeste  was  thus  hopefully  writing,  Niccolini 
had  an  audience  of  the  Pope,  in  which  he  was 
informed  that  it  would  be  necessary  to  summon 
Galileo  to  the  Holy  Office  on  the  eve  of  the 
trial.  It  was  the  usage  and  could  not  be 
departed  from.  Again,  the  Ambassador  pleaded 
the  accused's  bad  health,  great  age,  and  the 
willingness  he  had  shown  to  submit  to  any 
penalties ;  but  Urban  replied  it  would  not  do  to 
order  otherwise.  He  regretted  that  Galileo  "who 
had  been  his  friend,  with  whom  he  had  often 
held  confidential  intercourse,  and  eaten  at  the 
same  table,"  should  be  subjected  to  these  annoy- 
ances, but  it  was  in  the  interests  of  religion. 

Notwithstanding  this  intimation,  days  and 
weeks  passed,  and  yet  Galileo  w&s  not  summoned 
before  the  Inquisition.  All  this  time,  as  we  see 
from  his  letters,  he  was  entertaining  confident 
hopes  of  some  favourable  issue ;  but,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  there  were  no  grounds  for  this  belief. 

292  THE     INQUISITION  [1632- 

Neither  he  nor  his  indefatigable  friends,  Castelli 
and  Niccolini,  could  learn  anything  definite.  The 
members  of  the  Congregation,  who  alone  could 
have  given  information,  kept  the  secrets  of  the 
Holy  Office  very  closely,  as  indeed  they  were 
bound  to  do  under  the  severest  penalties  to 
themselves.  Thus  the  month  of  March  passed 
by ;  April  was  come,  and  with  it  the  storm 
which  had  been  so  long  threatening. 

On  the  yth,  Niccolini  went  to  Cardinal 
Barberini  by  invitation,  and  was  informed,  on 
behalf  of  the  Pope  and  the  Congregation,  that 
Galileo  must  appear  before  the  Holy  Office,  and, 
as  it  was  not  known  whether  the  case  could  be 
settled  at  a  single  sitting,  it  might  be  necessary 
to  detain  him.  Once  more  the  Ambassador  urged 
consideration  for  his  age  and  health  (he  had 
again  been  ill  and  confined-  to  bed),  and  begged 
the  Cardinal  to  consider  whether  it  would  not  be 
possible  for  him  to  return  every  evening  to  sleep 
at  the  Embassy.  To  these  appeals  his  Eminence 
replied  that  such  a  permission  was  not  to  be 
expected.  He  promised,  however,  that  every 
comfort  would  be  afforded  him  in  the  buildings 
of  the  Holy  Office ;  that  he  would  neither,  as 
was  customary  with  accused  persons,  be  treated 
as  a  prisoner,  nor  be  placed  in  a  cell;  but  he 
would  have  good  rooms,  and,  perhaps,  his  doors 
would  not  even  be  locked.  Niccolini  reported 
this  notification  to  Cioli  on  pth  April,  adding  the 
following  interesting  details  : — 

"This  morning  I  also  had  a  conversation  with 

i633]     SUBMISSION  RESOLVED  ON     293 

his  Holiness,  who  again  gave  vent  to  his 
displeasure  that  Galileo  should  have  discussed 
this  subject  which  appears  to  him  to  be  very 
serious,  and  of  great  moment  to  religion.  Signor 
Galileo  thinks,  nevertheless,  that,  he  can  defend 
his  statements  on  good  grounds;  but  I  have 
warned  him  to  refrain  from  doing  so,  in  order 
not  to  prolong  the  proceedings,  and  to  submit 
to  what  shall  be  prescribed  to  him  to  believe 
respecting  the  motion  of  the  earth.1  He  has 
fallen  into  the  deepest  dejection,  and  since 
yesterday  has  sunk  so  low  that  I  am  in  great 
concern  for  his  life.  I  shall  beg  that  a  servant 
may  be  allowed  him,  and  as  much  comfort  as 
the  place  will  admit  of.  Meanwhile,  we  are  all 
doing  our  best  to  console  him  and  to  help  him 
through  our  recommendations  to  the  most  friendly 
disposed  members  of  the  Congregation;  for  truly 
he  deserves  every  possible  kindness  that  can  be 
shown  him.  I  cannot  describe  to  you  the  grief 
of  the  whole  house,  for  every  one  here  loves  him 

From  this,  then,  we  learn  that  up  to  8th  April 
Galileo  was  still  intending  to  defend  himself  and 
his  opinions,  and  that  it  was  only  on  the  earnest 
entreaty  of  the  Ambassador  that  he  gave  up  all 
idea  of  opposition,  and  resolved  upon  entire 

1  In  a  previous  despatch  of  I9th  February,  he  says :  "  I  have 
advised  Galileo  to  be  always  ready  to  obey  and  to  submit  to  whatever 
was  ordered,  for  this  was  the  only  way  to  allay  the  irritation  of  one 
who  was  so  incensed,  and  who  treated  this  affair  as  a  personal  one." 
Clearly,  this  "one"  was  no  other  than  Urban  VIII. 


GALILEO   AND    THE    INQUISITION (continued} 


ON  1 2th  April  1633,  Galileo  appeared  for  his 
first  examination  before  the  Commissary- General 
of  the  Inquisition,  Father  Firenzuola,  and  the 
Procurator-Fiscal,  Father  Sincero.  In  all  his 
answers  he  is  actuated  by  one  idea — that  of 
shortening  the  proceedings  and  averting  severe 
measures  by  submissive  acquiescence.  According 
to  the  rules  of  the  Holy  Office,  an  oath  is 
administered  to  the  accused  that  he  will  speak 
the  truth,  and  he  is  then  asked  whether  he  knows 
or  conjectures  the  reason  of  his  citation.  Galileo 
replied  that  he  supposed  he  had  been  summoned 
to  give  an  account  of  his  last  book.  After  being 
asked  if  he  acknowledged  the  work  shown  him, 
"  Dialogo  di  Galileo  Galilei,  Linceo,"  as  his,  and 
his  reply  in  the  affirmative,  the  examiners  led 
him  back  to  his  visit  to  Rome  in  1616,  and  to 
what  then  happened  in  the  matter  of  the  pro- 
hibition. His  answers  show  that  he  only  knew 
of  Cardinal  Bellarmine*s  admonition,  as  recorded 
in  his  certificate  of  26th  May  1616.  That  a 
"command"  in  more  stringent  terms  was  issued 


1632-1633]      FIRST    EXAMINATION  295 

to  him  (as  the  Inquisitor  asserts)  he  is  not 
aware,  but,  true  to  his  resolve  of  submissiveness, 
he  says  again  and  again  :  "  It  may  be  so,  but  I 
do  not  remember  it."  He  is  then  told  that  this 
"  command "  was  to  the  effect  that  he  must  not 
hold,  defend,  or  teach,  in  any  way  whatever, 
verbally  or  in  writing,  the  doctrines  of  Copernicus. 
Galileo,  who  hears  for  the  first  time  the  exact 
terms  of  this  further  injunction  "not  to  teach 
in  any  way  whatever,  verbally  or  in  writing/'  is 
amazed,  but  is  still  submissive.  "It  may  be," 
he  answers,  ".that  this  injunction  was  also  there, 
but  I  do  not  remember  it."  He  then  appeals 
again  to  Cardinal  Bellarmine's  certificate,  "  in 
which,"  he  says,  "  there  is  no  mention  of  this 
further  injunction  which  has  just  been  made 
known  to  me." 

After  trying  by  every  artifice  to  get  from  him 
an  admission  that  this  further  injunction  was  laid 
upon  him,  and  after  his  declaring  for  the  fifth  time 
that  he  did  not  remember  any  " command"  beyond 
the  admonition  of  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  the  In- 
quisitor asked  whether  he  had  received  any  per- 
mission to  print  his  Dialogues,  and  if  in  the 
negotiations  he  had  mentioned  the  " command" 
aforesaid.  He  replied :  "I  did  not  say  anything 
about  it  when  I  asked  for  the  Imprimatur.  I  did 
not  think  it  necessary  to  say  anything,  because  I  did 
not  consider  that  in  writing  the  book  I  was  acting 
contrary  to,  far  less  disobeying,  the  command  *  not 
to  hold  or  defend '  the  aforesaid  opinions.  I  have 
neither  maintained  nor  defended  the  opinion  that 
the  earth  moves  and  that  the  sun  is  stationary,  but 

296  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

have  demonstrated  the  opposite,  and  shown  that 
the  arguments  of  Copernicus  are  weak  and  incon- 
clusive/' With  this  answer  the  first  sitting  of 
this  memorable  trial  closed.  Silence  on  matters 
connected  with  the  proceedings  having  been  im- 
posed on  oath,  Galileo  was  led  to  his  apartments  in 
the  private  quarters  of  the  Procurator- Fiscal,  where 
he  received  kind  and  considerate  treatment.  Writing 
to  Bocchineri  on  i6th  April,  he  says  : — 

"Contrary  to  custom,  three  large  and  comfort- 
able rooms  have  been  assigned  to  me,  with  permission 
to  walk  about  in  the  spacious  corridors.  My  health 
is  good,  for  which,  next  to  God,  I  have  to  thank  the 
great  care  of  the  Ambassador  and  his  wife,  who  have 
a  watchful  eye  for  all  comforts — far  more  than  I 

A  servant  was  allowed  to  remain  with  him, 
Niccolini  was  permitted  to  send  in  his  meals,  and  no 
obstacle  was  opposed  to  his  free  correspondence 
with  the  kind  Ambassador. 

In  their  treatment  of  Galileo  personally  (unprece- 
dented for  its  considerateness),  throughout  the  whole 
of  these  proceedings,  the  Inquisition  did  homage 
to  his  genius.  Since  the  establishment  in  1215  of 
this  dreadful  tribunal,  no  prisoner  had  ever  been 
treated  with  such  leniency ;  for  princes,  prelates,  and 
noblemen,  all  had  been  consigned  to  the  secret  dun- 
geons from  the  very  commencement  of  their  trial. 
The  Pope  himself  in  an  interview  with  Niccolini  (re- 
ported in  his  despatch  to  Cioli,  27th  February  1633) 
said,  apropos  of  this  point,  that  Galileo  was  treated 
as  a  privileged  person,  and  reminded  the  Am- 
bassador that  in  the  recent  case  of  a  gentleman  of 

i633]          REMITTED    TO    PRISON  297 

the  princely  house  of  Gonzaga  far  different  measures 
had  been  taken,  that  he  had  been  not  only  carried 
to  Rome  by  officers  of  the  Inquisition,  but  was  kept 
closely  imprisoned  for  a  long  time  before  judgment 
was  pronounced. 

On  1 5th  April,  three  days  after  the  first  examin- 
ation, three  counsellors  of  the  Holy  Office,  Oregius, 
Inchofer,  and  Pasqualigus,  delivered  their  opinions 
on  the  case.  Oregius  declared  that  in  the  Dialogues 
the  doctrine  that  the  earth  moves  and  that  the  sun 
is  stationary  is  held  and  defended.  Inchofer 
declared  that  Qalileo  not  only  taught  and  defended 
that  doctrine,  but  was  himself  suspiciously  inclined 
to  it,  and  even  held  it  to  this  day.  Pasqualigus  was 
of  opinion  that  by  the  publication  of  his  Dialogues 
Galileo  had  infringed  the  order  of  1616  in  respect  to 
teaching  and  defending,  and  it  was  very  suspicious 
that  he  held  the  prohibited  doctrine. 

On  hearing  of  her  father's  imprisonment  Maria 
Celeste  wrote  in  deep  distress,  2oth  April : — 

"  I  have  just  been  informed  by  Signor  Bocchineri 
of  your  being  imprisoned  in  the  Holy  Office.  At 
this,  though  on  the  one  hand  it  grieves  me  much, 
feeling  sure  that  you  are  anxious  and  uneasy  and, 
perhaps,  without  bodily  comfort,  yet  on  the  other 
hand,  considering  that  it  must  have  come  to  this 
before  the  business  could  be  terminated,  and  con- 
sidering also  the  benignancy  with  which  you  have 
personally  been  treated,  and  (above  all)  the  righteous- 
ness of  your  cause  and  your  innocence  in  this  parti- 
cular matter,  I  feel  comforted,  and  hope  for  a 
prosperous  ending  with  the  help  of  Almighty  God, 
to  Whom  I  cry  without  ceasing,  recommending  you 
to  His  care,  with  the  greatest  love  and  confidence. 
Only  be  of  good  cheer.  Do  not  give  way  to  grief, 

298  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

for  fear  of  the  effect  it  would  have  on  your  health. 
Turn  your  thoughts  to  God,  and  put  your  trust  in 
Him  who  like  a  loving  Father  never  forsakes  those 
who  trust  in  Him  unceasingly. 

"My  dearest  Lord  and  father,  I  have  written 
instantly  on  learning  this  news  of  you,  that  you 
might  know  how  I  sympathise  with  you  in  your 
distress.  Perhaps,  when  you  know  this  it  will  not 
be  quite  so  hard  to  bean  I  have  mentioned  the 
news  to  no  creature  in  this  house,  choosing  to  make 
my  joy  and  gladness  common  to  all,  but  to  keep  my 
troubles  to  myself.  Consequently,  every  one  is 
looking  forward  joyfully  to  seeing  you  back  again. 
And  who  knows  ?  Perhaps,  even  while  I  am  writing 
the  crisis  may  be  passed,  and  you  may  be  relieved 
of  all  anxiety.  May  it  be  the  Lord's  will,  in  whose 
keeping  I  leave  you." 

Fearing  that  during  Galileo's  detention  within 
the  walls  of  the  Holy  Office,  his  letters  to  his 
daughter  might  be  delayed  if  not  detained,  Caterina 
Niccolini  (the  Ambassador's  wife)  with  sweet 
thoughtfulness  wrote  to  Maria  Celeste  telling  her 
what  she  knew  of  the  situation,  but  still  presenting 
the  bright  side  (as  Galileo  himself  had  been  doing) 
lest  the  poor  nun  should  be  too  much  distressed 
It  would  appear  from  more  than  one  of  Maria 
Celeste's  letters  that  the  father  had  spoken  so 
much  to  the  Ambassadress  about  his  daughter  as  to 
make  her  Excellency  wish  for  a  personal  acquaint- 
ance, and  she  signified  her  intention  of  paying  the 
Sister  a  visit  on  her  return  to  Florence.  From  a 
letter  written  to  her  father  some  time  later,  we  learn 
that  Maria  Celeste  was  expecting  Signora  Caterina 
with  a  mixture  of  pleasure  and  trepidation. 

After  the  first  hearing  of  his  case  on  I2th  April, 


weeks  passed  and  no  further  open  step  was  taken  in 
the  trial ;  meanwhile,  the  prolonged  deprivation  of 
exercise  in  the  open  air  which  had  been  so  essential 
to  his  health,  combined  with  mental  agitation,  threw 
the  old  man  on  a  sick  bed.  Writing  on  23rd  April 
to  Geri  Bocchineri  he  says  : — 

"  I  am  writing  in  bed  to  which  I  have  been  con- 
fined for  sixteen  hours  with  severe  pains  in  my 
loins,  which  according  to  my  experience  will  last  as 
much  longer.  A  little  while  ago  I  had  a  visit  from  the 
Commissary  and  the  Fiscal  who  conduct  the  enquiry. 
They  have  promised  and  intimated  it  as  their  settled 
intention  to  terminate  the  case  as  soon  as  I  am  able 
to  get  up  again,  encouraging  me  repeatedly  to  keep 
up  my  spirits.  I  place  more  confidence  in  these 
promises  than  in  the  hopes  held  out  to  me  before, 
which  as  experience  has  shown  were  founded  rather 
upon  surmises  than  real  knowledge.  I  have  always 
hoped  that  my  innocence  and  uprightness  would  be 
brought  to  light,  and  I  now  hope  it  more  than  ever. 

"  Please  send  this  on  to  my  daughters  and 
Vincenzio,  as  usual." 

The  second  examination  was  fixed  for  28th 
April,  and  the  course  it  now  took  had  up  to  recent 
years  puzzled  all  students  of  this  famous  trial 
While  at  the  close  of  his  first  examination  we 
have  seen  Galileo  deny  having  defended  the 
Copernican  doctrine,  and  assert  that  he  had  done 
just  the  opposite,  now  at  this  second  hearing  and 
almost  without  waiting  for  the  Inquisitor's  questions, 
he  makes  a  declaration  which,  roundabout  though 
it  is,  contains  a  penitent  confession  that  he  had 
defended  those  doctrines.  The  cause  of  this 
change  is  explained  by  a  letter  from  one  of 

300  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

Galileo's  judges,  the  Commissary  -  General 
Firenzuola  (who  was  then  with  the  Pope  in  the 
Castle  of  Gandolfo),  to  Cardinal  Francesco 
Barberini,  and  dated  28th  April.1  This  interest- 
ing letter  (slightly  condensed)  runs  as  follows  : — 

"In  compliance  with  the  commands  of  his 
Holiness  I  yesterday  informed  the  Congregation 
of  the  state  of  Galileo's  case.  Their  Eminences 
approved  of  what  has  been  done  thus  far,  and  took 
into  consideration  various  difficulties  with  regard  to 
the  manner  of  pursuing  the  case,  and  of  bringing  it 
to  an  end.  More  especially  as  Galileo  has  in  his 
examination  denied  what  is  plainly  evident  in  his 
book;  and  in  consequence  of  this  denial  there 
would  result  the  necessity  for  greater  rigour  of 
procedure,  and  less  regard  to  the  other  con- 
siderations belonging  to  the  business.  Finally,  I 
suggested  that  the  Congregation  should  grant  me 
permission  to  treat  extra-judicially  with  Galileo  in 
order  to  render  him  sensible  of  his  error,  and  bring 
him  to  a  confession  of  the  same ;  and  upon  my 
indicating  the  grounds  upon  which  I  made  the 
suggestion,  permission  was  granted  me.  That  no 
time  might  be  lost  I  entered  into  discourse  with 
Galileo  yesterday  afternoon,  and,  after  many  argu- 
ments and  rejoinders  had  passed  between  us,  by 
God's  grace  I  attained  my  object,  for  I  brought  him 
to  a  full  sense  of  his  error,  so  that  he  is  willing  to 
confess  it  judicially.  He  requested,  however,  a 
little  time  in  order  to  consider  the  form  in  which  he 
might  most  fittingly  make  the  confession.  I  trust  his 
Holiness  and  your  Eminence  will  be  satisfied  that 
in  this  way  the  affair  will  be  settled  without 
difficulty ;  the  Court  will  maintain  its  reputation  ; 
it  will  be  possible  to  deal  leniently  with  the  culprit  ; 

1  First  published  in  Heralisi's  "Urbano  VII  I.  e  Galileo  :  Memorie 
Storiche,"  Rome,  1875,  pp.  197-8. 

1633]          SECOND    EXAMINATION  301 

and,  whatever  the  decision  arrived  at,  he  will 
recognise  the  favour  shown  him,  with  all  the 
other  consequences  of  satisfaction  herein  desired, 
To-day  I  think  of  examining  him  in  order  to  obtain 
the  said  confession,  and,  having  as  I  hope  received 
it,  it  will  only  remain  to  me  further  to  question  him 
with  regard  to  his  intention,  and  to  impose  the 
prohibitions  upon  him  ;  and  that  done  he  might 
have  the  house  [Niccolini's]  assigned  as  a  prison,  as 
hinted  to  me  by  your  Eminence." 

The  second  examination  did  not  take  place  on 
28th  April  as  Firenzuola  proposed,  perhaps  on 
account  of  Galileo's  indisposition.  On  3Oth  April 
the  Court  again  assembled,  the  usual  oath  to  speak 
the  truth  was  administered,  and  Galileo  was  re- 
quested to  state  what  he  had  to  say.  He  then 
began  the  following  melancholy  confession : — 

"  In  the  course  of  some  days'  continuous  and 
attentive  reflection  oft  the  interrogations  put  to  me 
on  the  1 2th  of  the  present  month,  and  in  particular 
as  to  whether  sixteen  years  ago  an  injunction  was 
intimated  to  me  by  order  of  the  Holy  Office  for- 
bidding me  to  hold,  defend,  or  teach,  in  any  manner, 
the  opinion  that  had  just  been  condemned — of  the 
motion  of  the  earth  and  the  stability  of  the  sun — it 
occurred  to  me  to  reperuse  my  printed  Dialogues 
(which  for  three  years  I  had  not  seen),  in  order 
carefully  to  note  whethe^,  contrary  to  my  most 
sincere  intention,  there  had  by  any  inadvertence 
fallen  from  my  pea  anything  from  which  a  reader  or 
the  authorities  might  infer  not  only  some  taint  of 
disobedience  on  my  part,  but  also  other  particulars 
which  might  induce  the  belief  that  I  had  con- 
travened the  orders  of  Holy  Church.  And  being 
by  the  kind  permission  of  th^  authorities  at  liberty 
to  send  about  my  servant,  I  sitffceeded  in  procuring 

302  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

a  copy  of  my  book,  and  having  procured  it  I  applied 
myself  with  the  utmost  diligence  to  its  perusal  and 
to  a  most  minute  consideration  thereof.  And, 
owing  to  my  not  having  seen  it  for  so  long,  it 
presented  itself  to  me  as  if  it  were  a  new  writing 
and  by  another  author.  I  freely  confess  that  in 
several  places  it  seemed  to  me  set  forth  in  such  a 
form  that  a  reader  ignorant  of  my  real  purpose 
might  have  had  reason  to  suppose  that  the  argu- 
ments adduced  on  the  false  side,  and  which  it  was 
my  intention  to  refute,  were  so  expressed  as  to  be 
calculated  rather  to  compel  conviction  by  their 
cogency  than  to  be  easy  of  refutation.  Two 
arguments  there  are  in  particular — the  one  taken 
from  the  Sun-spots,  the  other  from  the  ebb  and 
flow  of  the  tide — which  in  truth  come  to  the  ear  of 
the  reader  with  far  greater  show  of  force  and  power 
than  ought  to  have  been  imparted  to  them  by  one 
who  regarded  them  as  inconclusive  and  who  in- 
tended to  refute  them ;  as,  indeed,  I  truly  and 
sincerely  held  and  do  hold  them  to  be  inconclusive 
and  admitting  of  refutation.  And  as  excuse  to 
myself  for  having  fallen  into  an  error  so  foreign  to 
my  intention,  not  contenting  myself  merely  with 
saying  that  when  a  man  recites  the  arguments  of 
the  opposite  side  with  the  object  of  refuting  them, 
he  should,  especially  if  writing  in  the  form  of 
dialogue,  state  them  in  their  strictest  form,  and 
should  not  cloak  them  to  the  disadvantage  of  his 
opponent.  Not  contenting  myself  with  saying 
this,  I  now  see  I  was  misled  by  that  natural  com- 
placency which  every  man  feels  with  regard  to  his 
own  subtleties  and  in  showing  himself  more  skilful 
than  the  generality  of  men  in  devising,  even  in 
favour  of  false  propositions,  ingenious  and  plausible 
arguments.  However,  although  with  Cicero  avidior 
sim  gloriae  quam  satis  est,  if  I  had  now  to  set 
forth  the  same  reasonings,  without  doubt  I  should 


so  weaken  them  that  they  should  not  be  able 
to  make  an  apparent  show  of  force  of  which  they 
are  really  and  essentially  devoid.  My  error  then 
has  been — and  I  confess  it — one  of  vainglorious 
ambition  and  of  pure  ignorance  and  inadvertence. 
"This  is  what  occurs  to  me  to  say  with  refer- 
ence to  this  particular,  and  what  suggested  itself 
to  me  during  the  reperusal  of  my  book/' 

After  making  this  humiliating  declaration, 
Galileo  was  allowed  to  withdraw,  and  no  questions 
were  put  to  him  ;  but  he  must  have  concluded  from 
this  silence  or  other  sign  that  he  had  not  gone  far 
enough  in  the  denial  of  his  inmost  convictions ; 
perhaps,  this  penitent  acknowledgment  of  error  and 
vain-glory  was  not  sufficient,  and  the  Inquisitors 
would  be  conciliated  by  the  resolution  to  publicly 
correct  his  error — whatever  prompted  the  impulse 
he  returned  at  once  to  the  Court  and  spoke  as 
follows : — 

"  And  in  confirmation  of  my  assertion,  that  I 
have  not  held  and  do  not  hold  as  true  the  opinion 
which  has  been  condemned,  if  there  shall  be  granted 
to  me,  as  I  desire,  means  and  time  to  make  a  clearer 
demonstration  thereof,  I  am  ready  to  do  so ;  and 
there  is  a  favourable  opportunity  for  this,  seeing 
that  in  the  work  the  interlocutors  agree  to  meet 
again  after  a  certain  time,  to  discuss  several  distinct 
problems  of  nature  connected  with  the  matter  dis- 
cussed at  their  meetings.  As  this  affords  me  an 
opportunity  of  adding  one  or  two  other  'days/  I 
promise  to  take  up  the  arguments  already  adduced 
in  favour  of  the  said  opinion,  which  is  false  and  has 
been  condemned,  and  to  confute  them  in  such  most 
effectual  manner  as  by  the  blessing  of  God  will 
be  possible  to  me.  I  pray,  therefore,  this  sacred 

304  THE    INQUISITION  [,632- 

tribunal  to  aid  me  in  this  good  resolution,  and  to 
enable  me  to  put  it  into  effect." 

On  the  evening  of  the  day  on  which  the  second 
hearing  took  place,  joth  April  1633,  Galileo  was 
permitted  to  return  to  the  Tuscan  Embassy,  on 
oath  not  to  leave  it,  not  to  hold  intercourse  with 
any  but  the  inmates  of  the  house,  to  present  him- 
self before  the  Holy  Office  when  summoned,  and  to 
maintain  the  strktest  silence  on  the  subject  of  the 
trial.  At  this  wholly  unexpected  favour,  Niccolini 
and  his  household  were,  as  we  may  imagine,  filled 
with  delight,  and  tvot  less,  we  may  be  sure,  was 
the  rejoicittg*  at  San  Matteo,  when  Galileo's  letter 
arrived  with  th*  goad  news.  Replying  on  ;th 
May,  Mark  Celeste  *ly$  :— 

"  The  kty  that  your  last  dear  le&fer  brought 
me,  and  ttte  ttttiftg'  to  read  k  over  and  over  to 
the  nuhs,  Who  Jtiade  «fuite  a  jubilee  on  hearing 
its  contents,  ptft  fne  into  such  an  excited  state, 
that  at  last  I  girt  a  set  etc  headache.  I  do  not 
say  this  to  fepnsieh  you,  but  to  show  how  I  take 
to  heart  all  your  dbnceras.  And  though  I  am  not 
more  strofcfly  ^fefcted  by  What  happens  to  you 
than  a  daufnter  oigfht  to  be»  yet  I  dare  to  say  that 
the  love  arid  rfcteneftce  I  bft&r  my  dearest  Lord 
and  father  46  surpaifc  by  a  £bod  deal  that  of  the 
generality  rf.ckugfetifrS;  and  I  know  that  in  like 
manner  ne  ejtcdt  mdMk  parent*  in  his  love  of  me, 
his  dattjjfhter,  I  ^N^  Ifcitty  thffeks  to  our  gracious 
God  for  thfe  tffcfcieifcs  ftfu  ha^fc  hitherto  received. 
You  justly  &f  mil  ouf  fhercies  come  fVom  Him ; 
and  though  you  considfet'  these  ftow  received  as 
an  ansWfcf  to  «!jf  praytete,  yet  tmly  they  count 
for  little  df  AOtMlf.  But  God  knows  how  dearly 
I  love  yoc*  tod  ife  He  h*r»  me/' 


A  week  later,   I4th  May,  she  writes  again:  — 

"  You  will  have  heard  already  what  joy  and 
comfort  your  last  letter  gave  ITU*.  As  I  was 
obliged  to  give  it  to  Signor  Geri  that  Vincenzio 
might  see  it,  I  made  a  copy  which  Signor  Rondi- 
nelli  will  take  into  Florence  to  read  to  some  of  his 
friends,  who  he  knew  would  be  extremely  glad  to 
hear  the  particulars." 

After  a  long  detailed  account  of  her  steward- 
ship in  the  management  of  his  property,  she 
goes  on  :  — 

"  I  wonder  at  Vincenzio  never  having  written 
to  you,  and  I  glory  in  having  been  beforehand 
with  him  in  writing  constantly,  notwithstanding 
that  I  too  have  sometimes  found  time  wanting. 
To-day,  I  have  written  this  at  four  different  times, 
having  had  constant  interruptions  frtffa  the  phar- 
macy [of  which  she  was  kegper],  atl&  also  from 
the  toothache,  which  has  been  troublesome  for 
many  days  past/' 

For  once  Maria  Celeste  sfcfcma  to  be  unjust 
to  her  brother.  Vincenzio  did  not  write,  it  is 
true,  but  the  reason  was  that  fear  of  th6  plague 
had  interrupted  all  communication  between  the 
healthy  and  the  infected  districts.  He  htd  not 
long  before  condescended  to  accggt  an  appoint- 
ment as  clerk  at  Poppi,  chief  town  «f  the  Cfc«en- 
tino,  a  district  to  which  the  scotn|fe  had  not 
penetrated.  Vincenzio  does  not  apptar  to  fcfcve 
held  this  appointment  very  long,  f«  we  learn 
that,  owing  to  his  inefficiency  and  carelessness,  he 
was  requested  to  send  in  his  resignation,  or  suffer 
dismissal.  Writing  to  Galileo  cm  this  subject, 
Bocchineri  says  :  — 


3o6  THE     INQUISITION  [,632- 

"  I  wish  you  would  write  and  tell  him  to  mind 
his  business,  and  not  waste  his  time  over  his  new 
invention — a  tuning-fork  or  some  such  thing — 
which  might  serve  well  enough  to  employ  him 
after  business  hours,  but  which  ought  not  to  be 
the  principal  occupation  of  the  day/' 

Poor  Galileo ! 

On  loth  May,  Galileo  was  summoned  for  the 
third  time  before  the  Inquisition,  where  the  Com- 
missary -  General,  Firenzuola,  informed  him  that 
eight  days  were  allowed  in  which  to  prepare  a 
defence  if  he  wished  to  do  so;  but  Galileo  at 
once  handed  in  a  paper,  from  which  we  may  con- 
clude that  it  was  written  to  order,  and  under  the 
same  extra-judicial  pressure  as  made  him  write 
his  humiliating  confession  of  3Oth  April.  The 
greater  part  of  this  document  is  taken  up  with 
an  explanation  why  he  had  not  mentioned  the 
prohibition  of  1616  when  applying  for  the  Im- 
primatur in  1630 — which  explanation  amounts  to 
a  formal  admission  that  on  26th  February  1616 
he  was  not  only  commanded  not  to  hold  or 
defend  the  Copernican  doctrine,  but  not  to  teach 
it  in  any  way  whatsoever.  Coming  then  to  the 
last  paragraph  he  says : — 

"Lastly,  it  remains  for  me  to  pray  you  to 
take  into  consideration  my  pitiable  state  of  bodily 
indisposition,  to  which  at  the  age  of  seventy  years, 
I  have  been  reduced  by  ten  months  of  constant 
mental  anxiety,  and  the  fatigue  of  a  long  and 
toilsome  journey  at  the  most  inclement  season, 
together  with  the  loss  of  the  greater  part  of  the 
years  of  which,  from  my  previous  condition  of 
health,  I  had  the  prospect.  I  am  encouraged  to 

i633]  THIRD    EXAMINATION  307 

ask  this  indulgence  by  the  clemency  and  good- 
ness of  the  most  eminent  lords,  my  judges, 
and  hope  that  they  will  be  pleased  to  remit  what 
may  appear  good  to  their  entire  justice,  and  to 
consider  my  sufferings  as  adequate  punishment" 

This  touching  appeal  to  the  mercy  of  his  judges 
cannot  be  read  without  feelings  of  the  profoundest 
pity  for  the  crushed  old  man,  who  in  the  evening 
of  a  glorious  life  was  thus  compelled  to  deny  his 
inmost  convictions,  and  to  sue  cravenly  for  that 
pity  which  was  not  to  be  shown  him. 

After  his  paper  had  been  received,  and  the 
same  obligations  imposed  on  him  on  oath  as  after 
the  second  hearing,  he  was  allowed  to  return  to 
the  Embassy.  The  nearer  the  time  approached 
when  his  illusions  were  to  be  dispelled,  the  more 
sanguine  was  the  intelligence  he  sent  to  his 
friends.  A  favour  granted  just  at  the  last,  on 
the  urgent  solicitation  of  Niccolini,  and  unheard 
of  in  the  annals  of  the  Inquisition,  might  have 
encouraged  these  confident  hopes.  He  was  per- 
mitted to  take  the  air  in  the  gardens  of  the  Villa 
Medici  on  the  Pincio,  to  which,  however,  he  was 
always  conveyed  in  a  closed  carriage,  as  he  must 
not  be  seen  in  the  streets  !  Niccolini  did  not  share 
in  these  hopes  of  his  guest  After  an  audience 
of  the  Pope  and  Cardinal  Barberini,  he  wrote 
to  Cioli  (22nd  May)  : — 

"  I  very  much  fear  that  the  book  will  be  pro- 
hibited, unless  it  is  averted  by  Galileo's  being- 
charged  (as  I  suggested)  to  write  an  apology. 
Some  salutary  penance  will  also  be  imposed,  as 
they  maintain  that  he  has  transgressed  the  com- 

308  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

mand  given  to  him  by  Cardinal  Bellarmine  in 
1616.  I  have  not  yet  told  Galileo  all  this, 
because  I  want  to  prepare  him  for  it  by  degrees, 
in  order  not  to  distress  him." 

A  lull  now  took  place  in  the  proceedings — 
the  preparation  for  the  great  catastrophe  that 
was  to  crush  Galileo  and  fill  the  educated  world 
with  horror.  Sultry  silence  reigned  for  four 
weeks,  and  no  one,  not  even  Niccolini,  could 
learn  anything.  Indeed,  the  thunderbolt  had 
fallen  before  the  fact  was  known  outside  the 
Holy  Office.  Galileo's  fate  had  been  sealed  at 
a  private  meeting  of  the  Congregation,  i6th  June 
1633,  at  which  the  Pope  presided.  It  was 
decreed  to  try  Galileo  as  to  his  intention,  under 
threat  of  torture,  and  if  this  failed  he  was  then 
to  be  called  upon  to  recant  before  a  plenary 
assembly  of  the  Holy  Office;  to  be  condemned 
to  imprisonment  at  their  pleasure;  and  to  be 
ordered  in  future  not  to  discuss  in  writing  or 
speaking  the  opinion  that  the  earth  moves  and 
that  the  sun  is  stationary,  nor  even  the  contrary 
opinion,  under  pain  of  further  punishment  as  a 
relapsed  heretic.  Further,  the  work  "Dialogo  di 
Galileo  Galilei,  Linceo,"  was  to  be  prohibited.1 
And,  in  order  to  make  this  known  everywhere, 
copiesv  of  the  sentence  were  to  be  sent  to  all 
Papal  envoys  and  to  all  Inquisitors  into  heretical 
crimes,  and  especially  to  the  Inquisitor  in  Florence, 
who  were  to  read  it  publicly  to  all  professors  of 
mathematics  summoned  for  the  purpose. 

1  From  the  Vatican  MSS.  it  was  apparently  first  intended  to 
publicly  burn  the  book,  but  after  the  decree  was  drafted,  the  words 
Cremandum  fere  were  erased  and  prohibendum  fore  inserted. 

x633]        AWFUL    PAUSE:    SILENCE          309 

Two  days  after  these  proceedings  had  been 
determined  on,  the  Pope  received  Niccolini,  who 
once  more  came  to  beg  for  a  speedy  termination 
of  the  trial,  the  long  suspense  of  which  was 
torturing  to  him  only  in  a  less  degree  than  it 
was  to  Galileo  himself.  Urban  coolly  replied 
that  it  had  already  been  terminated,  and  that 
within  the  next  few  days  Galileo  would  be 
summoned  to  hear  his  sentence.  The  Ambas- 
sador, aghast  at  this  unexpected  answer,  implored 
the  Pope  to  mollify  any  severity  that  the  judges 
might,  perhaps,  have"  thought  necessary,  and  added 
that  the  great  complaisance  hitherto  shown  to 
his  Sovereign's  wishes  in  the  matter  was  fully 
appreciated,  and  that  the  Grand  Duke  was  only 
waiting  the  end  of  the  business  to  express  his 
gratitude  in  person.  The  Pope  replied  that  his 
Highness  need  not  take  this  trouble,  that  he  had 
readily  granted  every  amelioration  possible;  but 
as  to  Galileo's  opinions  they  could  do  no  less  than 
prohibit  them  as  erroneous  and  contrary  to 
Holy  Scripture,  and  as  to  his  person,  he  would, 
according  to  usage,  fee  imprisoned  for  a  time, 
because  he  had  transgressed  the  mandate  issued 
to  him  in  1616.  "  However,"  added  Urban, 
"after  the  publication  of  the  sentence  we  will 
see  you  again  and  we  will  consult  together  so 
that  he  may  suffer  as  little  distress  as  possible." 

The  same  day,  i8th  June,  Niccolini  reported 
this  audience  to  Cioli,  and  remarked  at  the  end 
that  he  had  simply  informed  Galileo  of  the 
approaching  end  of  the  trial  and  of  the  prohibi- 
tion of  his  book,  but  had  said  nothing  about  the 

310  THE    INQUISITION  [1632- 

personal  punishment,  in  order  not  to  trouble  him 
too  much  at  once.  The  Pope  had  also  enjoined 
this  course,  "  because,  perhaps,  in  the  course  of 
the  proceedings  things  might  take  a  better  turn/' 
The  drama  now  rapidly  proceeded  to  a  climax. 
On  the  evening  of  2Oth  June  1633,  Galileo  was 
warned  to  appear  before  the  Inquisition  on  the 
following  morning,  when,  as  we  know  from  the 
programme  of  i6th  June,  he  was  to  be  questioned 
under  threats  of  torture  about  his  "intention" 
that  is,  as  to  his  real  convictions. 

On  the  morning  of  the  2ist,  Galileo  appeared 
before  his  judges.  After  he  had  taken  the  usual 
oath  and  had  answered  in  the  negative  the  query 
whether  he  had  any  statement  to  make,  the 
examiner  asked  three  separate  questions,  slightly 
varied  but  all  to  the  effect  whether  he  has  held 
and  holds  the  opinion  that  the  sun  is  the  centre 
of  the  world,  and  that  the  earth  is  not  the 
centre,  but  moves,  and  with  a  diurnal  motion. 
To  these  Galileo  suitably  replied  in  the  negative. 
"  I  do  not  hold,"  he  says,  in  reply  to  the  last 
query,  "  and  have  not  held  this  opinion  of 
Copernicus  since  the  command  was  given  me 
that  I  must  abandon  it.  For  the  rest  I  am  here 
in  your  hands,  do  with  me  as  you  please. J1 
Being  once  more  bidden  to  speak  the  truth, 
otherwise  recourse  would  be  had  to  torture,  the 
terrified  old  man  answered  with  the  resignation 
of  despair,  "I  am  here  to  obey.  I  have  not 
held  this  opinion  since  the  decision  was  pro- 
nounced, as  I  have  stated." 

In   the   protocol    of   the   trial    the   concluding 

1633]          FOURTH     EXAMINATION  311 

sentence  follows  immediately  after  Galileo's  answer, 
"And  as  nothing  further  could  then  be  done 
in  execution  of  the  decree  [of  i6th  June]  his 
signature  was  obtained  to  his  depositions,  and  he 
was  sent  back  to  his  place,"  that  is,  to  some 
place  in  the  buildings  of  the  Holy  Office,  where 
he  was  detained  till  24th  June.1 

We  have  no  information  as  to  the  treatment 
he  received  this  time.  Was  he  put  into  the 
apartments  he  had  occupied  before,  or  was  he 
confined  in  a  prisoner's  cell?  From  the  con- 
siderate treatment  in  outward  things  which 
Galileo  met  with  during  his  trial,  we  may, 
perhaps,  conclude  that  he  was  not  thrown  into 
the  dungeons  of  the  Inquisition  as  so  many 
historians  are  fond  of  repeating.  Neither  is 
there,  as  we  shall  presently  see,  the  slightest 
foundation  for  another  vulgar  error — that  he  was 
actually  put  to  the  torture. 

3  Despatch,  Niccolini  to  Cioli,  26th  June  1633. 




ON  Wednesday,  22nd  June  1633,  in  the  forenoon, 
Galileo  was  conducted  to  the  large  hall  used 
for  melancholy  proceedings  of  this  kind  in 
the  Dominican  Convent  of  Santa  Maria  sopra 
Minerva,  where  in  the  presence  of  his  judges 
and  a  large  assemblage  of  cardinals  and  prelates 
of  the  Church  his  sentence  was  read  to  him  as 
follows  r1 — 

"  We,  the  undersigned, 

Gasparo  of  Santa  Croce  in  Gerusalemme,  Borgia, 

Fra  Felice  Centino  of  S.  Anastasia,  called  Ascoli, 

Guido  of  Santa  Maria  del  Popolo,  Bentivoglio, 

Fra  Desiderio  Scaglia  of  S.  Carlo,  called  Cremona, 

Fra  Antonio  Barberini,  called  S.  Onofrio,3 

Laudivio  Zacchia  of  S.  Pietro  in  Vincoli,  called  San-Sisto, 

Berlingero  of  San  Agostino,  Gessi, 

Fabrizio  of  S.  Lorenzo  in  Pane  e  Perna,  Verospi, 

Francesco  of  S.  Lorenzo  in  Damaso,  Barberini,8 

Martino  of  Santa  Maria  Nuova,  Ginetti, 

"by   the  grace   of    God,   Cardinals    of  the    Holy 

1  Jean-Jacques  Bouchard  writing  from  Rome  to  Micanzio,  29th 
June  1633,  says  "  he  was  conducted  as  a  criminal  in  penitential  garb." 

2  Pope's  brother.  3  pope>s  nephew. 

1633]  SENTENCE  313 

Roman  Church,  Inquisitors  General  throughout 
the  whole  Christian  Republic,  Special  Deputies 
of  the  Holy  Apostolical  Chair  against  heretical 
depravity : 

"  Whereas  you,  Galileo,  son  of  the  late 
Vincenzio  Galilei,  of  Florence,  aged  70  years, 
were  denounced,  in  1615,  to  this  Holy  Office, 
for  holding  as  true  a  false  doctrine  taught  by 
many,  namely,  that  the  sun  is  immovable  in  the 
centre  of  the  world,  and  that  the  earth  moves, 
and  also  with  a  diurnal  motion ;  also,  for  having 
pupils  whom  you  instructed  in  the  same  opinions ; 
also,  for  maintaining  a  correspondence  on  the 
same  with  some  German  mathematicians ;  also 
for  publishing  certain  letters  on  the  sun-spots,  in 
which  you  developed  the  same  doctrine  as  true ; 
also  for  answering  the  objections  which  were 
continually  produced  from  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
by  glozing  the  said  Scriptures  according  to  your 
own  meaning;  and  whereas  thereupon  was  pro- 
duced the  copy  of  a  writing,  in  form  of  a  letter, 
professedly  written  by  you  to  a  person  formerly 
your  pupil,  in  which,  following  the  hypothesis  of 
Copernicus,  you  include  several  propositions 
contrary  to  the  true  sense  and  authority  of  the 
Holy  Scriptures ;  therefore  (this  Holy  Tribunal 
being  desirous  of  providing  against  the  disorder 
and  mischief  which  were  thence  proceeding  and 
increasing  to  the  detriment  of  the  Holy  Faith) 
by  the  desire  of  his  Holiness  and  of  the  Most 
Eminent  Lords,  Cardinals  of  this  supreme  and 
universal  Inquisition,  the  two  propositions  of  the 
stability  of  the  sun,  and  the  motion  of  the  earth, 
were  qualified  by  the  Theological  Qualifiers  as 
follows ; 

"  i.  The  proposition  that  the  sun  is  in  the 
centre  of  the  world  and  immovable  from  its 
place  is  absurd,  philosophically  false,  and  formally 

3H  THE     INQUISITION  [1633 

heretical ;  because  it  is  expressly  contrary  to 
the  Holy  Scriptures. 

"2.  The  proposition  that  the  earth  is  not 
the  centre  of  the  world,  nor  immovable,  but  that 
it  moves,  and  also  with  a  diurnal  motion,  is  also 
absurd,  philosophically  false,  and,  theologically 
considered,  at  least  erroneous  in  faith. 

"  But  whereas,  being  pleased  at  that  time  to 
deal  mildly  with  you,  it  was  decreed  in  the  Holy 
Congregation,  held  before  his  Holiness  on  the 
twenty -fifth  day  of  February  1616,  that  his 
Eminence  the  Lord  Cardinal  Bellarmine-  should 
enjoin  you  to  give  up  altogether  the  said  false 
doctrine  ;  and  if  you  should  refuse,  that  you  should 
be  ordered  by  the  Commissary  of  the  Holy  Office 
to  relinquish  it,  not  to  teach  it  to  others,  nor 
to  defend  it ;  and  in  default  of  acquiescence, 
that  you  should  be  imprisoned ;  and  whereas  in 
execution  of  this  decree,  on  the  following  day, 
at  the  Palace,  in  presence  of  his  Eminence  the 
said  Lord  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  after  you  had  been 
mildly  admonished  by  the  said  Lord  Cardinal, 
you  were  commanded  by  the  Commissary  of  the 
Holy  Office,  before  a  notary  and  witnesses,  to 
relinquish  altogether  the  said  false  opinion, 
and,  in  future,  neither  to  defend  nor  teach  it  in 
any  manner,  neither  verbally  nor  in  writing, 
and  upon  your  promising  obedience  you  were 

"  And,  in  order  that  so  pernicious  a  doctrine 
might  be  altogether  rooted  out,  nor  insinuate 
itself  further  to  the  heavy  detriment  of  the 
Catholic  truth,  a  decree  emanated  from  the  Holy 
Congregation  of  the  Index  prohibiting  the  books 
which  treat  of  this  doctrine,  declaring  it  false, 
and  altogether  contrary  to  the  Holy  and  Divine 

"And   whereas   a    book    has    since    appeared 

1633]  SENTENCE  315 

published  at  Florence  last  year,  the  title  of  which 
showed  that  you  were  the  author,  which  title  is 
'The  Dialogue  of  Galileo  Galilei,  on  the  two 
principal  Systems  of  the  World — the  Ptolemaic 
and  Copernican ' ;  and  whereas  the  Holy  Con- 
gregation has  heard  that,  in  consequence  of 
printing  the  said  book,  the  false  opinion  of  the 
earth's  motion  and  stability  of  the  sun  is  daily 
gaining  ground,  the  said  book  has  been  taken 
into  careful  consideration,  and  in  it  has  been 
detected  a  glaring  violation  of  the  said  order, 
which  had  been  intimated  to  you ;  inasmuch  as 
in  this  book  you  have  defended  the  said  opinion, 
already,  and  in  your  presence,  condemned ; 
although,  in  the  same  book,  you  labour  with 
many  circumlocutions  to  induce  the  belief  that 
it  is  left  by  you  undecided  and  merely  probable  ; 
which  is  equally  a  very  grave  error,  since  an 
opinion  can  in  no  way  be  probable  which  has 
been  already  declared  and  finally  determined 
contrary  jo  the  Divine  Scripture.  Therefore,  by 
Our  order,  you  have  been  cited  to  this  Holy 
Office,  where,  on  your  examination  upon  oath, 
you  have  acknowledged  the  said  book  as  written 
and  printed  by  you.  You  also  confessed  that  you 
began  to  write  the  said  book  ten  or  twelve 
years  ago,  after  the  order  aforesaid  had  been 
given.  Also,  that  you  had  demanded  licence  to 
publish  it,  without  signifying  to  those  who  granted 
you  this  permission  that  you  had  been  commanded 
not  to  hold,  defend,  or  teach,  the  said  doctrine 
in  any  manner.  You  also  confessed  that  the 
style  of  thfc  said  book  was,  in  many  places,  so 
composed  that  the  reader  might  think  the  argu- 
ments adduced  on  the  false  side  to  be  so 
worded  as  more  effectually  to  compel  ^conviction 
than  to  be  easily  refutable,  alleging,  in  excuse, 
that  you  had  thus  run  into  an  error,  foreign 

3r6  THE     INQUISITION  [1633 

(as  you  say)  to  your  intention,  from  writing  in 
the  form  of  a  dialogue,  and  in  consequence  of 
the  natural  complacency  which  every  one  feels 
with  regard  to  his  own  subtleties,  and  in  showing 
himself  more  skilful  than  the  generality  of  mankind 
in  contriving,  even  in  favour  of  false  propositions, 
ingenious  and  plausible  arguments. 

"  And,  upon  a  convenient  time  being  given 
you  for  making  your  defence,  you  produced  a 
certificate  in  the  handwriting  of  his  Eminence 
the  Lord  Cardinal  Bellarmine,  procured,  as  you 
said,  by  yourself,  that  you  might  defend  yourself 
against  the  calumnies  of  your  enemies,  who 
reported  that  you  had  abjured  your  opinions, 
and  had  been  punished  by  the  Holy  Office ;  in 
which  certificate  it  is  declared  that  you  had  not 
abjured  nor  had  been  punished,  but  merely  that 
the  declaration  made  by  his  Holiness,  and  pro- 
mulgated by  the  Holy  Congregation  of  the  Index, 
had  been  announced  to  you,  which  declares  that 
the  opinion  of  the  motion  of  the  earth  and  stability 
of  the  sun  is  contrary  to  the  Holy  Scriptures, 
and,  therefore,  cannot  be  held  or  defended.  Where- 
fore, since  no  mention  is  there  made  of  two  articles 
of  the  order,  to  wit,  the  order  '  not  to  teach '  and 
*in  any  manner/  you  argued  that  we  ought  to 
believe  that,  in  the  lapse  of  fourteen  or  sixteen 
years,  they  had  escaped  your  memory,  and  that 
this  was  also  the  reason  why  you  were  silent  as 
to  the  order  when  you  sought  permission  to 
publish  your  book,  and  that  this  is  said  by  you, 
not  to  excuse  your  error,  but  that  it  may  be 
attributed  to  vain-glorious  ambition  rather  than 
to  malice.  But  this  very  certificate,  produced 
on  your  behalf,  has  greatly  aggravated  your 
offence,  since  it  is  therein  declared  that  the  said 
opinion  is  contrary  to  the  Holy  Scriptures,  and 
yet  you  have  dared  to  treat  of  it,  and  to  argue 

1633]  SENTENCE  317 

that  it  is  probable.  Nor  is  there  Vmy  extenuation 
in  the  licence  artfully  and  cunningly  extorted  by 
you,  since  you  did  not  intimate  the  command 
imposed  upon  you.  But  whereas  it  appeared  to 
Us  that  you  had  not  disclosed  the  whole  truth 
with  regard  to  your  intention,  We  thought  it 
necessary  to  proceed  to  the  rigorous  examination 
of  you,  in  which  (without  any  prejudice  to  what 
you  had  confessed,  and  which  is  above  detailed 
against  you,  with  regard  to  your  said  intention) 
you  answered  like  a  good  Catholic.1 

"Therefore,  having  seen  and  maturely  con- 
sidered the  merits  of  your  cause,  with  your  said 
confessions  and  excuses,  and  everything  else  which 
ought  to  be  seen  and  considered,  We  have  come 
to  the  underwritten  final  sentence  against  you  : 

"  Invoking,  therefore,  the  most  holy  name  of 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  of  His  Most  Glorious 
Virgin  Mother,  Mary,  We  pronounce  this  Our 
final  sentence,  which,  sitting  in  council  and 
judgment  with  the  Reverend  Masters  of  Sacred 
Theology  and  Doctors  of  both  Laws,  Our  Assessors, 
We  put  forth  in  this  writing  in  regard  to  the 
matters  and  controversies  between  the  Magnificent 
Carlo  Sincero,  Doctor  of  both  Laws,  Fiscal  Proctor 
of  the  Holy  Office,  of  the  one  part,  and  you, 
Galileo  Galilei,  defendant,  tried  and  confessed 
as  above,  of  the  other  part,  We  pronounce,  judge, 
and  declare,  that  you,  the  said  Galileo,  by  reason  of 
these  things  which  have  been  detailed  in  the  course 
of  this  writing,  and  which,  as  above,  you  have 
confessed,  have  rendered  yourself  vehemently 
suspected  by  this  Holy  Office  of  heresy,  that  is  of 
having  believed  and  held  the  doctrine  (which  is 
false  and  contrary  to  the  Holy  and  Divine 

1  The  phrase  is  vague  and  purposely  so,  for  clearly,  even  the 
,  threat  of  torture  could  not  extort  from  Galileo  the  wished-for  avowal 
of  his  "intention,"  that  is  of  his  still  holding-  the  condemned  opinion. 
See  Martin's  "GalileV  PP- 129-31. 

318  THE    INQUISITION  [1633 

Scriptures),  that  the  sun  is  the  centre  of  the  world, 
and  that  it  does  not  move  from  east  to  west,  and  that 
the  earth  does  move,  and  is  not  the  centre  of  the 
world ;  also,  that  an  opinion  can  be  held  and 
supported  as  probable,  after  it  has  been  declared 
and  finally  decreed  contrary  to  the  Holy  Scripture, 
and,  consequently,  that  you  have  incurred  all  the 
censures  and  penalties  enjoined  and  promulgated  in 
the  sacred  canons  and  other  general  and  particular 
constitutions  against  delinquents  of  this  description. 
From  which  it  is  Our  pleasure  that  you  be  absolved, 
provided  that  with  a  sincere  heart  and  unfeigned 
faith,  in  Our  presence,  you  abjure,  curse,  and 
detest,  the  said  errors  and  heresies,  and  every 
other  error  and  heresy,  contrary  to  the  Catholic 
and  Apostolic  Church  of  Rome,  in  the  form  now 
shown  to  you. 

"  But  that  your  grievous  and  pernicious  error 
and  transgression  may  not  go  altogether  un- 
punished, and  that  you  may  be  made  more  cautious 
in  future,  and  may  be  a  warning  to  others  to 
abstain  from  delinquencies  of  this  sort,  We  decree 
that  the  book  '  Dialogues  of  Galileo  Galilei '  be 
prohibited  by  a  public  edict,  and  We  condemn 
you  to  the  formal  prison  of  this  Holy  Office  for 
a  period  determinable  at  Our  pleasure  ;  and  by 
way  of  salutary  penance,  We  order  you  during  the 
next  three  years  to  recite,  once  a  week,  the  seven 
penitential  psalms,  reserving  to  Ourselves  the 
power  of  moderating,  commuting,  or  taking  off, 
the  whole  or  part  of  the  said  punishment  or 

1  Accordingly,  the  work  was  placed  on  the  Index  Expurgatorius, 
and  for  more  than  a  hundred  years  after,  it  was  not  allowed  to  be 
printed  in  Italy,  and  then  (1744)  the  editot  had  to  state  expressly  in 
an  introduction  that  the  theory  of  the  double  motion  of  the  earth  must 
be  regarded  only  as  a  mathematical  hypothesis  to  facilitate  the  ex- 
planation of  certain  natural  phenomena.  He  had  also  to  prefix  the 
sentence  of  the  Holy  Office  and  Galileo's  recantation,  as  well  as 

i633]  ABJURATION  319 

"And  so  We  say,  pronounce,  and  by  Our 
sentence  declare,  decree,  and  reserve,  in  this  and  in 
every  other  better  form  and  manner,  which  lawfully 
We  may  and  can  use.  So  We,  the  subscribing 
Cardinals,  pronounce. 

'  FELIX,  Cardinal  di  Ascoli. 
'GuiDO,  Cardinal  Bentivoglio. 
c  DESIDERIO,  Cardinal  di  Cremona. 
{  ANTONIO,  Cardinal  S.  Onofrio. 
£BERLINGERO,  Cardinal  Gessi. 
6  FABRIZIO,  Cardinal  Verospi. 
*  MARTINO,  Cardinal  Ginetti." 

In  conformity  with  the  foregoing  sentence, 
Galileo  was  made  to  kneel  before  the  Inquisition, 
and  make  the  following  abjuration : — 

"  I,  Galileo  Galilei,  son  of  the  late  Vincenzio 
Galilei  of  Florence,  aged  seventy  years,  being 
brought  personally  to  judgment,  and  kneeling 
before  you,  Most  Eminent  and  Most  Reverend 
Lords  Cardinals,  General  Inquisitors  of  the 
Universal  Christian  Republic  against  heretical 
depravity,  having  before  my  eyes  the  Holy  Gospels 
which  I  touch  with  my  own  hands,  swear  that  I 
have  always  believed,  and,  with  the  help  of  God, 
will  in  future  believe,  every  article  which  the  Holy 
Catholic  and  Apostolic  Church  of  Rome  holds, 
teaches,  and  preaches.  But  because  I  have  been 

Calmet's  essay  "On  the  System  of  the  Universe  of  the  Ancient 
Hebrews,"  in  which  the  passages  of  Scripture  relating  to  the  order  of 
the  world  are  supposed  to  be  interpreted  in  true  Catholic  fashion. 
But  see  p.  427  infra. 

After  many  attempts  in  the  next  eighty  years  to  have  the  decree  of 
5th  March  1616  (prohibiting  all  books  which  teach  the  Copernican 
doctrine)  expunged,  it  was  finally  resolved,  nth  September  1822, 
"  that  the  printing  and  publication  of  works  treating  of  the  motion  of 
the  earth  and  the  stability  of  the  sun,  in  accordance  with  the  opinion 
of  modern  astronomers,  is  permitted  in  Rome."  Accordingly,  in  the 
next  edition  of  the  Index,  published  in  1835,  Galileo's  name,  Kepler's, 
and  those  mentioned  in  the  decree  of  5th  March  1616,  were  expunged. 

320  THE    INQUISITION  [1633 

enjoined,  by  this  Holy  Office,  altogether  to  abandon 
the  false  opinion  which  maintains  that  the  sun  is 
the  centre  and  immovable,  and  forbidden  to  hold, 
defend,  or  teach,  the  said  false  doctrine  in  any 
manner ;  and  because,  after  it  had  been  signified  to 
me  that  the  said  doctrine  is  repugnant  to  the  Holy 
Scripture,  I  have  written  and  printed  a  book,  in 
which  I  treat  of  the  same  condemned  doctrine,  and 
adduce  reasons  with  great  force  in  support  of  the 
same,  without  giving  any  solution,  and  therefor  have 
been  judged  grievously  suspected  of  heresy ;  that  is 
to  say,  that  I  held  and  believed  that  the  sun  is  the 
centre  of  the  world  and  immovable,  and  that  the 
earth  is  not  the  centre  and  movable,  I  am  willing 
to  remove  from  the  minds  of  your  Eminences, 
and  of  every  Catholic  Christian,  this  vehement 
suspicion  rightly  entertained  towards  me,  therefore, 
with  a  sincere  heart  and  unfeigned  faith,  I  abjure, 
curse,  and  detest  the  said  errors  and  heresies,  and 
generally  every  other  error  and  sect  contrary  to  the 
said  Holy  Church ;  and  I  swear  that  I  will  never 
more  in  future  say,  or  assert  anything,  verbally  or 
in  writing,  which  may  give  rise  to  a  similar  sus- 
picion of  me ;  but  that  if  I  shall  know  any  heretic, 
or  any  one  suspected  of  heresy,  I  will  denounce 
him  to  this  Holy  Office,  or  to  the  Inquisitor  and 
Ordinary  of  the  place  in  which  I  may  be.  I  swear, 
moreover,  and  promise  that  I  will  fulfil  and  observe 
fully  all  the  penances  which  have  been  or  shall  be 
laid  on  me  by  this  Holy  Office.  But  if  it  shall 
happen  that  I  violate  any  of  my  said  promises, 
oaths,  and  protestations  (which  God  avert ! ),  I 
subject  myself  to  all  the  pains  and  punishments 
which  have  been  decreed  and  promulgated  by  the 
sacred  canons  and  other  general  and  particular 
constitutions  against  delinquents  of  this  description. 
So,  may  God  help  me,  and  His  Holy  Gospels, 
which  I  touch  with  my  own  hands,  I,  the  above 

i633]      DID    THE    JUDGES    AGREE?        321 

named  Galileo  Galilei,  have  abjured,  sworn, 
promised,  and  bound  myself  as  above ;  and,  in 
witness  thereof,  with  my  own  hand  have  subscribed 
this  present  writing  of  my  abjuration,  which  I  have 
recited  word  for  word. 

"At  Rome,  in  the  Convent  of  Minerva,  22nd 
June  1633,  I»  Galileo  Galilei,  have  abjured  as  above 
with  my  own  hand."  l 

A  notable  circumstance  connected  with  these 
papers  is  that,  whereas  the  names  of  ten  Cardinals 
appear  in  the  preamble  of  the  sentence,  only  seven 
subscribed  it  The  three  who  did  not  sign  deserve 
to  be  specifically  mentioned  ;  they  were  Gasparo 
Borgia,  Laudivio  Zacchia,  and  Francesco  Barberini, 
the  Pope's  nephew.  Why  did  these  Cardinals 
abstain  from  signing  ?  Were  they  absent  accident- 
ally, or  on  purpose  ?  Or  did  they  dissent  and  refuse 
to  sign  ?  We  shall  probably  never  know ;  but 
bearing  in  mind  the  many  instances  of  Francesco 
Barberini's  good  offices  in  Galileo's  behalf,  we  shall 
not  be  far  wrong,  I  think,  if  we  conclude  that  they 
did  not  sign  because  they  did  not  approve  the  sen- 
tence. Another  of  the  ten,  Cardinal  Bentivoglio, 

1  The  Vatican  MSS.  relating  to  Galileo's  trial  have  a  curious 
history  of  their  own.  They  were  carried  away  in  1809  by  order  of 
Napoleon  to  Paris,  where  they  remained  until  his  first  abdication. 
Just  before  the  Hundred  Days,  the  King,  Louis  XVI 1 1.,  wishing  to 
inspect  them,  ordered  them  to  be  sent  to  his  private  apartments.  In 
the  hasty  flight  which  soon  afterwards  followed,  the  MSS.  were 
forgotten,  and  disappeared  in  an  unaccountable  way.  After  some 
years  they  were  restored  to  Pope  Gregory  XVI.,  in  an  equally 
mysterious  manner,  and  were  finally  replaced  in  the  Vatican  Library 
by  Pope  Pius  IX,,  in  1848.  A  French  translation,  begun  by 
Napoleon's  orders,  was  brought  down  to  3oth  April  1633,  when,  no 
doubt,  the  Emperor's  abdication  prevented  its  completion.  For  more 
on  this  subject,  see  Favaro's  "Document!  del  Processo  di  Galileo," 
Venice,  1902. 


322  THE    INQUISITION  [l633 

although  he  signed,  is  said  to  have  done  his 
best  to  prevent  the  decision  arrived  at ;  which 
is  likely  enough,  seeing  that  he  studied  under 
Galileo  in  Padua,  and  was  always  reckoned  as 
one  of  his  disciples,1  We  may,  then,  suppose 
that  at  least  four  of  the  ten  judges  were  against 
the  sentence,  which,  if  true,  is  another  indica- 
tion of  the  determination  of  Urban  VIII.  to 
punish  his  quondam  friend  for  calling  him  a 

It  is  also  noteworthy  that  not  one  of  the  decrees 
or  orders  relating  to  this  trial  is  ratified  by  the 
Pope.  They  all  begin  with  the  words  Sanctissimus 
mandavit,  but  bear  no  Papal  signature.  This  is 
equally  the  case  in  the  proceedings  of  1616  as  in 
those  of  1633.  This  fact  is  made  much  of  by 
apologists  of  the  Church  of  Rome.  They  argue 
that  from  the  absence  of  the  Pope's  signature  the 
Church  cannot  be  held  responsible.  Galileo,  they 

1  See  his  "  Memorie,"  Venice,  1648,  p.  123  ;  also  p.  288  ante,  where 
Galileo    says    that    Cardinals    Bentivoglio    and    Scaglia  were   well 
disposed  towards  him.    The  Pope  told  Niccolini  on  i8th  June  that 
the  Cardinals  were  unanimous  "  in  intending  to  impose  a  penance." 
But  were  they  unanimous  in  all  other  matters  ?    It  is  well  to  note  (as 
Professor  Favaro  points  out)  that  his  Holiness  was  not  always  sincere 
in  his  communications  to  Niccolini, 

2  Since  the  above  was  written,  I^have  received  a  letter  from  Pro- 
fessor Favaro  in  which  he  says  :— "The  omission  of  the  signatures  has 
not  the  significance  hitherto  ascribed  to  it.    The  three  Cardinals  were 
not  present,  but  there  can  be  little  doubt  that,  notwithstanding  their 
good  disposition  towards   Galileo  personally  (a  feeling  which  was 
shared  by  others  on  the  bench),  they  were  assenting  parties.    Cardinal 
Borgia  was  at  the  time  Spanish  Ambassador  to  Rome,  his  relations 
with  the  Pope  and  the  Barberini  faction  were  strained,  and  he  seldom 
if  ever  attended  the  sittings  of  the  Holy  Office.     Cardinal  Barberini, 
as  we  learn  from  one  of  Niccolini's  despatches,  never  attended  the 
Wednesday  sittings.    Cardinal  Zacchia's  absence  was  probably  acci- 
dental,  perhaps  on  account  of  ill-health." 


say,  was  persecuted,  not  by  the  Pope,  Urban  VIII., 
the  infallible  vicar  of  Christ,  but  by  the  man,  Maffeo 
Barberini,  and  his  tools  the  Cardinals.  Granted  : 
but  suppose  a  man  be  persecuted  by  the  police  in 
the  name  of,  and  to  the  knowledge  of,  the  higher 
powers,  are  these  higher  powers  to  get  off  scot-free, 
because  they  did  not  put  their  hand  and  seal  to  the 
documents  authorising  the  acts  of  their  subordinates  ? 
However,  since  the  apologists  admit  the  persecution, 
we  leave  them  to  derive  what  comfort  they  can  from 
their  casuistical  argument.1 

For  a  long  time  it  was  a  popular  error  that 
Galileo  was  subjected  to  torture.2  The  assertion  is 
based  on  the  mention  in  the  sentence  of  a  rigorous 
examination  under  which  Galileo  answered  as 
became  a  good  Catholic ;  and  in  support  it  is 
pointed  out  that  after  this  time  he  was  afflicted 
(in  addition  to  his  other  maladies)  with  hernia,  which 
was  said-to  be  the  usual  consequence  of  "torture  by 
the  cord."  Now,  as  regards  the  latter  it  is  enough 
to  say  that  hernia  was  an  old  complaint,  and  is 
certified  to  by  the  Florentine  physicians  in  their 
certificate  of  i7th  December  1632,  already  quoted 
in  these  pages.  As  regards  the  rigorous  exa- 
mination, all  histories  of  the  Inquisition  show  that 
this  formula  consisted  of  five  stages  which  had  to 
be  strictly  followed  :  (i)  threat  in  Court  that  extreme 
measures  would  be  resorted  to ;  (2)  taking  the 

1  For  an  excellent  review^showing  the  injustice  and  illegality  of 
these  proceedings,  see  Von  Getter's  "  Galileo  and  the  Roman  Curia," 
pp.  234-42,  or  Martin's  "  Galile'e,'  chap,  vii.,  where  the  whole  affair  is 
exhaustively  discussed  from  a  different  standpoint. 

2  The  fable  is  not  dead  yet,  even  amongst  educated  people.    The 
latest  repetition  of  it  occurs  in  an  article  in  the  Fortnightly  Review 
for  .March  1902. 

324  THE    INQUISITION  [X633 

accused  into  the  torture  chamber,  renewing  the 
threat,  and  showing  him  the  instruments  of  torture ; 
(3)  undressing  and  binding ;  (4)  laying  him  on  the 
rack;  and  (5)  actual  torture  (territio  realis\  Now, 
a  close  study  of  the  proceedings  clearly  shows  that 
it  was  not  necessary  to  go  beyond  the  first  stage,  for 
the  compliance  of  the  accused  saved  his  judges 
from  the  ineffable  disgrace  of  the  crowning  infamy. 
The  difference  to  a  man  of  Galileo's  genius,  years, 
and  infirmities,  was  little  if  anything.  The  whole 
period  of  the  trial,  from  his  first  citation  to  Rome  on 
ist  October  1632  to  the  closing  scene  on  22nd 
June  1633,  was  one  continued  infliction  of  moral 
torture.  The  repeated  denials  of  his  inmost  con- 
victions, and  the  final  abjuration  on  bended  knees, 
must  have  wrung  his  soul  as  severely  as  physical 
torture  could  have  wrung  the  muscles  and  tendons 
of  his  body. 

Another  error  which  early  biographers  were  fond 
of  repeating,  but  of  which  a  moment's  reflection 
would  have  shown  the  absurdity,  was  that  Galileo 
on  rising  from  his  knees  after  reciting  the  abjur- 
ation muttered  Eppur  si  muove  (it  moves,  never- 
theless). Some  writers,  doubtless  to  make  the 
story  more  vraisemblable,  provide  a  friend  to 
whom  the  words  are  whispered.  But  consider  for 
a  moment  the  situation :  an  old  man  of  seventy 
years,  suffering  in  body,  and  distressed  in  mind  by 
the  accumulated  anguish  of  a  ten  months'  trial, 
alone  and  without  support  in  the  midst  of  that  stern 
assembly  of  Inquisitors.  Is  it  likely  that  at  such  a 
moment  he  would  have  muttered  or  uttered  these 
words?  He  must  have  known  that  the  slightest 

1633]  EPPUR    SI     MUOVE  325 

indication  by  words  or  gesture  of  such  a  state  of 
mind  would  have  consigned  him  for  life  to  the 
deepest  dungeons  of  the  Inquisition,  if  to  no 


While  the  older  writers  go  to  one  extreme  and 
say  that  Galileo  was  tortured,  thrown  into  a  dungeon 
for  years,  or  for  the  rest  of  his  life,  was  in  physical 
fact  a  martyr,  some  recent  ones  go  to  the  other  ex- 
treme, and  say  he  had  no  claim  to  much  sympathy, 
brought  his  troubles  on  himself  by  want  of  tact  and 
temper,  was,  in  fact,  as  little  of  a  martyr  as  it  was 
possible  to  be.  Others,  again,  blame  him  for  not 
"  seeing  this  thing  through."  Brewster,  for  example, 
compares  him  to  the  Christian  martyr,  and  finds  him 
sadly  degenerate.  "  Had  Galileo,"  he  says,  "but 
added  the  courage  of  the  martyr  to  the  wisdom  of 
the  sage  ;  had  he  carried  the  glance  of  his  indignant 
eye  round  the  circle  of  his  judges ;  had  he  lifted  his 
hands  to  Heaven,  and  called  on  the  living  God  to 
witness  the  truth  and  immutability  of  his  opinions, 
the  bigotry  of  his  enemies  would  have  been  dis- 
armed, and  science  would  have  enjoyed  a  memorable 
triumph."  Perhaps  ;  but  perhaps  on  the  other  hand, 
his  judges,  instead  of  being  cowed  by  the  glance  of 
his  eye,  would  have  delivered  him  to  the  stake,  as 
they  did  Giordano  Bruno  earlier  in  the  century 
(1600),  and  Marc'  Antonio  de  Dominis  only  eight 
years  before.2  Revealed  truth  may  require  its 
martyrs,  at  least  so  Tertullian  tells  us — the  blood 

1  The  earliest  mention  of  "Eppur  si  muove"  occurs  in  "Querelles 
Litt&raires,"  by  L'Abbe*  Irailh,  Paris,  1761,  vol.  iii.  p.  49. 

3  De  Dominis  died  in  prison  (1624)  in  the  course  of  his  trial,  but 
his  body  was  burned  with  his  books  by  sentence  of  the  Inquisition — 
pour  encourager  les  autres^  I  suppose. 

326  THE    INQUISITION  [1633 

of  the  martyrs  is  the  seed  of  the  Church;  but 
scientific  truth  certainly  requires  none,/W£  Brewster, 
for,  as  the  Koran  (strange  authority)  teaches,  "the 
ink  of  the  scholar  and  the  blood  of  the  martyr  are 
of  equal  value  in  the  eye  of  Heaven. "  Much  as 
Galileo  did  for  science,  he  would  probably  have 
done  more  were  his  life  less  stormy.  From  his 
entry  into  public  life  in  1589  to  his  death  in  1642, 
he  was  seldom  free  from  polemics.  For  over  fifty 
years  he  was  the  knight  militant  of  science,  and 
almost  alone  did  successful  battle  with  the  hosts  of 
Churchmen  and  Aristotelians  who  attacked  him  on 
all  sides — one  man  against  a  world  of  bigotry  and 
ignorance.  If,  then,  once  and  only  once,  when  face 
to  face  with  the  terrors  of  the  Inquisition,  he,  like 
Peter,  denied  his  Master,  no  honest  man,  knowing 
all  the  circumstances,  will  be  in  a  hurry  to  blame 

After  this  sorrowful  drama  had  been  concluded, 
Galileo  was  led  back  to  the  buildings  of  the  Holy 
Office.  And  now  that  he  and  the  Copernican 
system  had  been  condemned  with  all  the  terrify- 
ing forms  of  the  Inquisition,  Urban 's  wounded 
vanity  was  soothed,  and  he  was  pleased  to  give 
the  word  for  a  little  mercy.  Galileo  was  not,  as 
the  sentence  prescribed,  to  be  detained  in  the  prison 
of  the  Holy  Office,  but  was  banished  to  the  villa 
of  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany  at  Trinita  dei 
Monti,  which,  by  Papal  orders  dated  23rd  June, 
he  was  to  consider  as  a  prison.  Thither,  where, 
many  years  before,  he  had  shown  the  moons  of 
Jupiter  and  other  "  Celestial  Novelties"  to  wonder- 
ing cardinals,  he  was  now  conducted  by  the 

i633]    PUBLICATION   OF  SENTENCE    327 

ever-faithful  Niccolini  on  the  evening  of  24th 

From  Niccolini  Js  letter  to  Cioli  of  26th  June 
we  learn  that  while  Galileo  took  the  prohibition 
of  his  book  (for  which  his  friend  had  prepared 
him)  with  tolerable  composure,  the  wholly  un- 
expected proceedings  against  himself  personally 
affected  him  terribly.  He  sank  into  a  deep  de- 
pression from  which  the  Ambassador  did  his  best 
to  rouse  him,  but  with  little  success  for  a  time. 

In  accordance  with  the  decree  of  i6th  June 
1633,  copies  of  the  sentence  and  abjuration  were 
despatched  to  all  Papal  Nuncios,  all  Inquisitors, 
and  many  Universities,  Italian  and  Foreign.  In 
Padua  and  Florence  especially,  the  means  of  publi- 
cation were  calculated  with  a  refinement  of  cruelty. 
In  Padua  the  local  Inquisitor  read  both  documents 
to  the  professors  of  philosophy  and  mathematics, 
and  to  the  students  convened  for  the  purpose  in 
the  University  library.  A  search  was  made  for 
copies  of  the  condemned  book,  and  if  none  were 
found  the  Inquisitor  could  at  least  boast  of  one 
voluntary  surrender.  The  peripatetic  Fortunio 
Liceti  gave  up  his  copy — a  presentation  one  by 
the  author!  In  Florence  the  Inquisitor  read  the 
sentence  and  abjuration  publicly  in  the  church 
of  Santa  Croce,  notices  to  attend  having  been 
previously  served  on  all  professors,  and  on  all 
others  who  were  known  to  be  friends  and  ad- 
herents of  Galileo.  Thus  Aggiunti,  Guiducci, 
Arrighetti,  and  many  others  who  loved  the  great 
master  were  made  to  participate  in  his  humiliation.1 

1  See  Guiducci's  letter  to  Galileo,  dated  27th  August  1633, 

328  THE    INQUISITION  [1633 

But  the  cup  of  Papal  wrath  was  not  emptied 
on  Galileo's  head  alone.  All  who  had  befriended 
him,  or  had  any  part  in  the  licensing  of  his 
Dialogues,  were  punished  in  some  way.  Ciampoli, 
in  December  1632,  was  deprived  of  his  office  of 
Secretary  of  the  Papal  Briefs  and  was  (practically) 
exiled  as  Governor  of  Montalto,  where  he  remained 
as  long  as  he  lived — Galileo's  faithful  disciple  to 
the  last  Early  in  April  1633  Galileo  was  deprived 
of  the  valuable  advocacy  of  the  devoted  Castelli, 
who  was  sent  away  on  some  pretext,  and  was  not 
recalled  until  the  middle  of  1635,  when  "At  last 
he  had  again  been  permitted  to  kiss  his  Holiness's 
toe.JJ  The  Inquisitor  in  Florence  was  severely  repri- 
manded, and  Riccardi,  the  Censor,  was  dismissed  in 
disgrace  and  deprived  of  all  offices  during  Urban's 

The  inconsistency  of  these  proceedings  will 
be  noted  in  the  latter  cases.  These  people  are 
punished  for  granting  that  very  licence  which 
Galileo  was  charged  with,  and  condemned  for, 
having  surreptitiously  obtained  from  them  by  con- 
cealing circumstances  with  which  they  were  not 
bound  to  be  acquainted.  Riccardi,  in  exculpation 
of  his  conduct,  produced  a  letter  from  Ciampoli, 
in  which  it  was  said  that  his  Holiness  (in  whose 
presence  the  letter  professed  to  be  written)  ordered 
the  licence  to  be  given  ;  but  the  Pope  only  replied 
that  this  was  a  Ciampolism ;  that  his  Secretary  and 
Galileo  had  circumvented  him  ;  that  he  had  already 
dismissed  Ciampoli,  and  that  Riccardi  must  prepare 
to  follow  him. 

On  the  news  of  Galileo's  condemnation  reaching 


his     daughter,     Maria     Celeste    wrote     (on     2nd 
July)  :_ 

"The  news  of  your  fresh  trouble  has  pierced 
my  soul  with  grief — all  the  more  that  it  came  upon 
me  quite  unexpectedly.  Not  having  had  a  letter 
from  you  this  week,  I  feared  something  must  have 
happened,  and  importuned  Signor  Geri  to  tell  me. 
What  I  hear  from  him  of  the  resolution  they  have 
taken  concerning  you  and  your  book  gives  me 
extremest  pain,  not  having  expected  such  a  result. 
Dearest  Lord  and  father,  now  is  the  time  for  the 
exercise  of  that  wisdom  with  which  God  has  en- 
dowed you.  Thus,  you  will  bear  these  blows  with 
that  fortitude  of  soul  which  religion,  your  age,  and 
your  profession,  alike  demand." 

Receiving  no  news  direct  from  Galileo  for  some 
days  after  the  promulgation  of  the  sentence  in 
Florence,  Geri  Bocchineri  and  Niccol6  Aggiunti, 
fearing  a  descent  on  the  villa  at  Arcetri  by  the 
familiars  of  the  Inquisition,  requested  the  keys  of 
the  house  from  Maria  Celeste  that  they  might  do 
what  Galileo  had  told  them  might  be  necessary 
to  his  safety  should  certain  contingencies  arise. 
Writing  on  I3th  July,  she  tells  her  father: — 

"They  feared  you  were  in  trouble,  and  seeing 
how  exceedingly  anxious  they  were  oil  your  account, 
it  seemed  to  me  right  and  n'ecessary  to  prevent  any 
accident,  therefore  I  gave  them  the  keys  and  per- 
mission to  do  as  they  thought  fit" 

The  author  of  the  "  Private  Life  of  Galileo" 
thinks  the  work  here  hinted  at  was  the  burning  of 
such  writings  in  Galileo's  library  as  might  be  used 
to  further  incriminate  him. 

330  EXILED    TO    SIENA  [1633 

"It  is  probable,"  the  author  says,  "that  much 
which  was  precious  was  destroyed  on  this  occasion ; 
and  this  may  fully  account  for  the  disappearance 
of  those  incompleted  writings  of  which  mention 
is  made  in  his  correspondence,  but  of  which  no 
trace  remains  "  (p.  263). 

It  is  highly  probable  that  as  a  matter  of  pre- 
caution Galileo's  friends  took  away  for  safe  hiding 
certain  of  his  papers ;  but  that  anything  was  actually 
destroyed  I  doubt.  With  the  exception  of  those 
early  treatises  (some  of  which  may  never  have 
been  written),  noted  on  p.  120,  no  important  paper 
of  his  is  missing,  and  there  is  no  perceptible  break 
in  his  correspondence,  except  that  already  noted 
for  the  year  of  his  third  visit  to  Rome  in  I6I6.1 

Galileo,  after  his  first  great  anguish  had  some- 
what subsided,  felt  that  he  must  quit  Rome  and 
its  hateful  memories,  and  so  addressed  a  pitiable 
letter  to  the  Pope. 

"  Most  Holy  Father,"  he  says,  "  Galileo  Galilei 
humbly  begs  your  Holiness  to  exchange  the  place 
assigned  to  him  for  his  prison  near  Rome  for  some 
other  in  ^  Florence,  which  may  appear  suitable  to 
your  Holiness,  in  consideration  of  his  poor  health, 
and  also  because  he  is  expecting  a  siste^  [in  law] 
with  eight  children  from  Germany,  to  whom  no 
one  can  afford  help  and  protection  so  well  as 
himself.2  He  will  receive  any  disposition  of  your 
Holiness  as  a  great  favour." 

But  at  the  Vatican  it  was  thought  that  to 
allow  Galileo  to  return  at  once  to  Florence 

1  See  p.  156  ante,  and  the  Bibliography  at  end. 

2  A  pretext,  see  "  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  188. 

1633]        QUITS  ROME   ON  PAROLE          331 

would  be  a  superfluity  of  indulgence.  "We 
must  proceed  gently/'  said  his  Holiness,  "and 
only  rehabilitate  him  by  degrees/'  Still  Urban 
was  moved  to  some  compassion,  and  on  3oth 
June  allowed  the  poor  old  man  to  retire  to 
Siena,  to  the  house  of  his  former  pupil  Arch- 
bishop Ascanio  Piccolomini,  where  he  was  to 
remain  under  the  orders  of  the  Archbishop,  and 
on  no  account  to  leave  the  town  without  per- 
mission from  Rome.  Galileo  was  informed  of 
this  decision  on  2nd  July,  and  early  on  the  6th 
he  shook  the  dust  of  Rome  from  off  his  feet 
Niccolini,  reporting  his  departure  to  Cioli  (on 
loth  July),  says:  "Signor  Galileo  set  out  early 
on  Wednesday  in  good  health  for  Siena,  and 
writes  to  me  from  Viterbo  that  he  had  performed 
four  miles  on  foot,  the  weather  being  very  cool." 

Galileo  reached  Siena  safely  on  9th  July, 
and  was  warmly  received  by  Piccolomini ;  but 
neither  his  devoted  kindness,  not  the  stimulating 
converse  with  an  old  friend,  the  learned  Alessandro 
Marsili,  then  residing  at  Siena,  could  make  him 
forget  that  he  was  a  prisoner  of  the  Inquisition. 

On  23rd  July  1633,  he  wrote  to  Cioli : — 

"  To-day  I  address  myself  to  you,  oppressed 
by  the  ennui  of  a  captivity  of  more  than  six 
months — a  captivity  made  more  painful  by  the 
chagrin  and  the  anxiety  of  the  preceding  year, 
and  by  all  the  dangers  and  all  the  bodily  sufferings 
which  have  followed  in  their  train.  My  misfortunes 
are  commiserated  by  all  the  world,  except  by 
those  who  have  judged  me  deserving  of  this 
punishment — but  of  this  another  time. 

"The   duration  of  my  captivity  is  entirely  at 

332  EXILED    TO    SIENA  [1633 

the  pleasure  of  his  Holiness.  On  the  intervention 
of  the  Ambassador  Niccolini,  the  Pope  assigned 
me,  instead  of  the  prison  of  the  Holy  Office, 
the  Villa  de  Medici,  Trinita  dei  Monti,  where  I 
remained  some  days.  Again,  on  the  Ambassador's 
intercession,  I  was  sent  to  the  Archiepiscopal 
Palace  here,  where  for  fifteen  days  I  have 
experienced  the  greatest  kindness  from  the 
excellent  Archbishop.  But,  apart  from  the  wish 
that  I  have  to  return  to  my  home  and  to  be  at 
liberty,  this  liberty  is  really  essential  to  me. 
Therefore,  I  beg  you  to  move  his  Highness  to 
solicit  the  favour  of  my  liberty  from  his  Holiness, 
or  through  Cardinal  Barberini.  You  might  point 
out  that  the  house  of  the  Grand  Duke  has  been 
for  a  long  time  deprived  of  my  services,  and  insist 
on  attaching  to  this  circumstance  more  importance 
than  it  merits/' 

After  all  his  bitter  disillusions  we  see  that 
his  hopefulness  had  not  yet  abandoned  him.  The 
Grand  Duke  very  kindly  consented  to  exert  once 
more  what  influence  he  possessed  with  the  Pope, 
and  instructed  his  ambassador  accordingly;  but 
Niccolini  represented  that  the  moment  was  not 
opportune,  and  recommended  that  action  should  be 
deferred  for  a  few  months.  Meanwhile  the  good 
Archbishop  did  all  that  love  for  his  venerated 
guest  could  suggest  to  make  his  house  as  little 
like  a  prison  as  possible,  rather  "an  earthly 
paradise,"  as  Maria  Celeste  wished  her  father 
to  consider  it;  but  for  a  long  time  these  efforts 
had  little  effect  The  cruel  edict  condemning 
him  to  perpetual  silence  on  a  subject  which  was 
one  of  the  mainsprings  of  his  life  was  a  serpent's 
sting  which  could  not  be  readily  forgotten ;  his 

i633]     NEW  SCIENTIFIC  PROJECTS      333 

soul  was  lacerated,  and  he  fell  into  frequent  fits 
of  utter  despondency,  in  which  he  accused  his 
friends  of  having  forgotten  him.  In  one  of  these 
moments  of  bitterness  he  wrote  to  his  daughter — 
"my  name  is  erased  from  the  book  of  the  living." 
"Nay,"  came  Maria  Celeste's  soothing  reply,  "say 
not  that  your  name  is  struck  out  de  libro 
viventium,  for  it  is  not  so,  neither  in  the  greater 
part  of  the  world,  nor  in  your  own  country. 
Indeed,  it  seems  to  me  that  if  for  a  brief  moment 
your  name  and  fame  were  clouded  they  are  now 
restored  to  greater  brightness ;  at  saying  which 
I  am  much  astonished  with  myself,  for  I  know 
that  generally  nemo  propheta  acceptus  in  patria 
sua.  I  am  afraid  that  if  I  go  on  quoting  Latin 
I  shall  fall  into  some  barbarism,  so  I  shall  stop. 
But,  indeed,  you  are  loved  and  esteemed  here 
more  than  ever." 

As  the  weary  months  rolled  on,  Galileo  became 
a  little  resigned  to  his  situation  at  Siena,  and 
even  began  to  occupy  himself  with  another  of 
his  great  works  (indeed  the  greatest),  namely 
"  Dialoghi  delle  Nuove  Scienze"  (or,  Dialogues  on 
The  New  Sciences),  the  writing  of  which  he  spoke 
of  as  far  back  as  1610,  in  his  letter  to  Vinta.  His 
interest  in  other  scientific  matters  was  as  keen  as 
ever.  Thus,  writing  (27th  September)  to  Andrea 
Arrighetti,  a  young  Florentine  disciple  who  had 
sent  him  some  mathematical  problems,  he  says : — 

"The  pleasure  with  which  I  read  and  re-read 
your  demonstrations  was  greater  than  my  astonish- 
ment, since  the  pleasure  was  proportionate  to 
the  sagacity  of  which  you  give  proof  in  your 

334  EXILED    TO     SIENA  [1633 

argumentation,  while  the  astonishment  was  little, 
because  I  remembered  I  had  under  my  eyes  a 
work  of  Signor  Andrea  Arrighetti. 

"The  last  theorem  held"  me  for  a  moment 
in  meditation  and  in  doubt,  as  much  owing  to 
the  unusual  formula  as  to  fatigue  of  memory, 
which  lets  escape  impressions  as  soon  as  formed. 
Let  this  be  a  lesson  to  you,  and  encourage  you 
to  exercise  the  mind  while  you  are  young. 

"  As  regards  myself,  I  can  say  that  my  relations 
with  my  kind  and  honoured  host  bring  me  much 
consolation,  and  in  the  midst  of  so  many  sad 
subjects  for  meditation  they  give  a  new  direction 
to  my  thoughts.  But  more  than  any  other 
consolation,  the  knowledge  that  you  and  my  other 
friends  retain  for  me  your  old  affection  makes  my 
grief  less  heavy/' 

Galileo's  detention  at  Siena  would,  perhaps,  have 
been  borne  more  easily  did  he  not  know  that  his 
loved  and  loving  daughter,  in  spite  of  her  resigna- 
tion, was  consuming  her  poor  heart  with  longing  to 
see  him  once  more.  "  When  you  were  in  Rome  I 
said  to  myself,  if  he  were  but  at  Siena !  Now  you 
are  at  Siena,  I  say,  would  he  were  at  Arcetri !  But 
God's  will  be  done!"  Her  life  was  one  continual 
prayer  for  him.  Yet,  while  ever  thinking  of  his 
spiritual  welfare,  she  did  not  neglect  his  worldly 
affairs.  In  her  letters  of  this  period  she  tells  him 
of  the  fruit  and  the  wine  which  have  been  sold ; 
of  the  incoming  and  outgoing  of  his  money ;  that 
the  vines  had  been  injured  by  hail;  that  thieves 
had  been  over  the  garden  wall ;  that  his  mule  was 
behaving  badly  and  would  carry  no  one  now  her 
master  was  away;  that  a  storm  had  damaged  the 
roof,  an.d  thrown  down  and  smashed  a  large  vase ; 

1633]         SISTER  MARIA  CELESTE          335 

that  the  plums  were  few;  and  that  the  wind  had 
carried  away  the  pears;  and  so  on.  With  the 
money  from  the  sale  of  some  lemons  she  had  had 
three  masses  said  for  her  father's  special  benefit. 
Finally:  " there  are  two  pigeons/5  she  says,  "in 
the  dovecot  waiting  for  you  to  come  and  eat  them  ; 
there  are  beans  in  the  garden  waiting  for  you  to 
gather  them  ;  and  your  tower  is  lamenting  your 
long  absence." 

As  soon  as  the  quarantine  regulations  were 
relaxed,  Maria  Celeste  sent  the  boy  Geppo  on  the 
mule  to  Siena  to  bring  back  news  of  her  father, 
how  he  was  looking,  etc.  The  poor  old  man  seems 
to  have  asked  her  to  remember  him  in  her  prayers, 
for  on  Geppo's  return  she  wrote  (3rd  October) : — 

"  It  seems  to  me  a  thousand  years  till  I  see  you 
back  again  safe  and  well.  I  would  not  have  you 
doubt  that  all  this  time  I  have  never  ceased  from 
commending  you  to  God  with  my  whole  heart,  for, 
indeed,  I  feel  too  anxious  for  your  spiritual  and 
bodily  health  ever  to  have  neglected  praying  for 
you.  To  give  you  a  proof  I  will  tell  you  that 
as  a  great  favour  I  had  a  copy  of  your  sentence 
shown  to  me,  and  though  on  the  one  hand  it 
grieved  me  to  read  it,  yet  on  the  other  hand  I 
was  glad,  because  I  found  out  a  way  of  being 
of  some  slight  use  to  you,  namely,  by  taking  on 
myself  that  part  of  the  sentence  which  orders  you 
to  recite  the  seven  Penitential  Psalms  once  a  week. 
I  began  to  do  this  a  while  ago,  and  it  gives  me 
much  pleasure — first,  because  I  am  persuaded  that 
prayer  in  obedience  to  Holy  Church  must  be  effi- 
cacious ;  secondly,  in  order  to  save  you  the  trouble 
of  remembering  it.  If  I  had  been  able  to  do 
more,  most  willingly  would  I  have  entered  a  straiter 

336  EXILED    TO    SIENA  [1633 

prison  than  the  one  I  live  in  now,  if  by  so  doing 
I  could  set  you  at  liberty." 

At  length,  the  weariness  and  sickness  of  heart 
caused  by  hope  deferred  began  to  tell  on  this  sweet 
nun.  Worn  by  continual  ill-health,  by  anxiety  for 
her  father,  by  nightly  watchings  in  the  convent 
infirmary,  and  daily  occupations  in  the  stillroom 
and  pharmacy,  she  would  appear  to  have  felt  a 
presentiment  of  her  approaching  dissolution.  She 
strove  gently  to  prepare  her  father,  telling  him 
it  was  for  him  to  live  long  to  the  service  and  the 
glory  of  the  God  who  had  endowed  him  with  such 
a  wondrous  intellect,  and  to  the  comfort  of  many 
who  would  feel  his  loss.  As  for  herself,  she  could 
neither  do  much  for  the  glory  of  God,  nor  be  of 
much  use  to  any  one,  and  her  living  or  dying  would 
make  little  difference. 

In  November  1633,  thinking  the  time  favour- 
able, Niccolini  began  to  agitate  for  Galileo's  pardon, 
but  the  Pope  was  not  disposed  to  go  so  far,  and 
pretended  there  would  be  a  difficulty  in  getting 
the  Congregation  of  the  Holy  Office  to  consent  to 
such  a  course — a  patent  evasion,  as  the  decision 
rested  solely  and  entirely  with  himself.  Niccolini, 
however,  persisted  in  his  efforts,  and  went  to 
Cardinal  Barberini  and  other  members  of  the 
Congregation  to  enlist  their  good  .offices.  At 
length,  on  1st  December,  the  question  of  Galileo's 
pardon,  or  rather  release  from  personal  restraints, 
came  before  the  Congregation — the  Pope  pre- 
siding— and,  though  recommended  by  Cardinal 
Barberini,  it  was  refused;  but  Galileo  was  per- 

i633]  RETIRES    TO    ARCETRI  337 

mitted  to  retire  to  his  villa  at  Arcetri,  where 
he  was  to  remain  till  further  orders,  and  where 
he  might  receive  his  friends  and  relations,  but 
not  too  many  at  a  time,  if  he  wished  to  avoid 

While  Niccolini's  letter  of  3rd  December,  con- 
taining this  piece  of  good  news,  was  on  its  way 
to  Siena,  Galileo  was  writing  thus  to  Bocchineri 
in  Florence  (gth  December) : — 

"  For  the  last  four  days  I  have  suffered  from 
violent  pains  in  the  limbs  which  are  more  persistent 
than  ordinary.  I  fear  greatly  that  this  climate  (much 
more  rigorous  in  winter  than  that  of  Florence)  is 
the  principal  cause  of  these  ailments ;  and  I  foresee 
that  I  shall  be  very  seriously  crippled  if  obliged 
to  remain  here  much  longer.  I  await  a  decision 
from  Rome,  but  I  have  little  hope  of  its  being 

For  once  Galileo  despaired,  and  at  the  wrong 
moment!  The  same  day  Niccolini's  letter  of  3rd 
December  arrived,  and  a  few  days  afterwards  he 
set  out  for  Arcetri. 




ON  returning  to  his  villa,  II  Giojello,  after  nearly 
a  year's  absence,  Galileo's  first  care  was  to  visit 
his  daughters  in  the  neighbouring  convent  of  San 
Matteo ;  and  afterwards,  and  when  permitted  to 
do  so  by  the  local  Inquisitor,  this  was  his  greatest 
pleasure.  But  alas !  this  man  of  sorrows  was  soon 
to  taste  again  the  cup  of  affliction.  When  Maria 
Celeste  heard  that  her  father's  prison  had  been 
changed  to  Arcetri,  and  that  he  may  be  expected 
in  a  few  days,  she  hardly  had  strength  enough 
to  be  glad. 

"  I  do  not  think,"  she  wrote  on  3rd  December, 
"  that  I  shall  live  to  see  that  hour.  Yet  may  God 
grant  it  if  it  be  for  the  best." 

Her  prayer  was  granted  and  hardly  more. 
Before  she  lay  down,  weary  and  prematurely  old, 
in  her  narrow  bed  in  the  little  convent  chapel, 
she  was  able  to  embrace  her  dearest  Lord  and 
father.  What  passed  between  those  two  sorely- 
tried  and  loving  souls  in  the  last  few  and  suffering 

1634-1636]  DEATH  OF  MARIA  CELESTE  339 

weeks  of  the  daughter's  life  it  would  be  profanity 
to  attempt  to  describe,  even  if  we  knew. 

Sister  Maria  Celeste  died  on  2nd  April  1634, 
in  her  34th  year,  having  been  born  on  1 3th  August 
1600.  The  rest  that  we  know  of  her  will  best 
be  given  in  the  words  of  her  heart-broken  father. 
Writing  to  his  friend,  Elia  Diodati,  Paris,  on  25th 
July  1634,  he  says: — 

"  I  hope  that  when  you  hear  of  my  past  and 
present  misfortunes,  and  my  anxiety  about  those 
perhaps  still  to  come,  it  will  serve  as  an  excuse  to 
you  and  my  other  friends  and  patrons  in  Paris ;  to 
you  for  my  long  delay  in  answering  your  letter,  and 
to  them  for  my  entire  silence.  According  to  the 
sentence  pronounced  on  me  by  the  Holy  Office, 
I  was  condemned  to  imprisonment  during  the 
pleasure  of  his  Holiness,  who  was  pleased, 
however,  to  assign  the  palace  and  gardens  of 
the  Grand  Duke  near  the  Trinita  dei  Monti  as 
my  place  of  imprisonment  As  this  was  in  June 
of  last  year,  and  I  had  been  given  to  understand 
that  if  I  asked  for  a  full  pardon  after  the  lapse  of 
that  and  the  following  month  I  should  receive  it, 
I  asked,  meanwhile,  to  avoid  having  to  spend  the 
whole  summer  and,  perhaps,  part  of  the  autumn 
there,  to  be  allowed,  on  account  of  the  climate,  to 
go  to  Siena,  where  the  Archbishop's  house  was 
assigned  to  me  as  a  residence.  I  stayed  there 
five  months,  when  this  durance  was  exchanged  for 
banishment  to  this  little  villa,  a  mile  from  Florence, 
with  a  strict  injunction  not  to  go  to  the  city,  and 
neither  to  receive  the  visits  of  many  friends  at  once, 
nor  to  invite  any. 

"Here,  then,  I  was  living,  keeping  perfectly 
quiet,  and  paying  frequent  visits  to  a  neighbouring 
convent  where  two  daughters  of  mine  were  living  as 

340  GALILEO     AT     ARCETRI          [1634- 

nuns.  I  was  very  fond  of  them,  especially  of  the 
elder  who  possessed  extraordinary  mental  gifts, 
combined  with  rare  goodness  of  heart;  and  she 
was  very  much  attached  to  me.  During  my 
absence,  which  she  considered  very  perilous  for 
me,  she  fell  into  a  profound  melancholy  which 
undermined  her  health,  and  she  was  at  last  attacked 
by  a  violent  dysentery  of  which  she  died  after  six 
days'  illness,  just  thirty-three  years  of  age,  leaving 
me  in  the  deepest  grief." 

Galileo  was  so  overwhelmed  by  her  death  that 
it  seemed  to  him  as  if  he  were  destined  speedily  to 
follow  her.  "I  hear  her  constantly  calling  me," 
he  wrote  to  Geri  Bocchineri  on  27th  April  In 
the  rest  of  this  letter  we  have  a  sad  picture  of  the 
old  man's  desolation.  From  some  alarming  bodily 
symptoms,  and  his  daughter's  call  resounding  in  his 
ears,  he  believed  himself  to  be  dying. 

"I  am  going  to  write  to  you,"  he  says,  "about 
my  health  which  is  very  bad.  I  suffer  much  more 
from  the  rupture  than  has  been  the  case  before. 
My  pulse  intermits,  and  I  have  often  violent  palpi- 
tation of  the  heart.  Then,  the  most  profound 
melancholy  has  come  over  me ;  I  have  no  appetite 
and  loathe  myself;  in  short  I  feel  myself  perpetually 
called  by  my  beloved  daughter. 

"  Under  these  circumstances  I  do  not  think  it 
advisable  that  Vincenzio  should  set  out  on  a  journey 
now ;  as  events  might  occur  at  any  time  which 
might  make  his  presence  desirable ;  for,  besides 
what  I  have  mentioned,  continued  sleeplessness 
alarms  me  not  a  little.  I  tell  you  this  that  you 
may  tell  him  if  you  think  fit — not  because  I  wish  to 
disturb  his  plans,  but  because  it  seems  to  me  that 
he  ought  to  know.  You,  who  can  speak  more 
firmly  to  him  than  I  can,  will  say  enough  to  make 

1636]    SAVAGE   MANDATE   FROM  ROME    ^341 

him  take  the  course  which  is  most  advisable.  He 
has  been  asking  for  his  allowance,  25  crowns; 
I  enclose  it  to  you  to  forward  to  him,  as  I  do  not 
want  to  say  a  single  word,  for  him  to  turn  and  twist 
at  his  pleasure."1 

As  we  see  from  the  letter  just  quoted,  Galileo 
was  at  this  time  suffering  much  from  one  of  his 
many  complaints  (hernia).  On  its  recurrence 
earlier  in  the  year,  he  sought  permission 
through  the  Tuscan  Ambassador  to  move  into 
Florence  for  the  sake  of  the  regular  medical 
treatment  which  his  case  required,  and  which 
he  could  not  well  have  at  the  villa  outside  the 
city.  As  if  to  dye  his  tragic  fate  still  darker,  he 
received  the  answer  to  this  petition  at  the  same 
moment  that  the  physician  told  him  of  the  ap- 
proaching death  of  Maria  Celeste.  In  the  letter  to 
Diodati  above  quoted,  he  says  : — 

"  My  grief  at  this  terrible  news  was  increased 
by  another  calamity.  On  returning  home  from  the 
convent  with  the  doctor  who  visited  my  sick 
daughter  shortly  before  her  death,  and  who  had 
just  told  me  that  her  situation  was  desperate,  and 
that  she  would  hardly  survive  till  the  next  day  (as 
indeed  it  proved),  I  found  the  Inquisitor's  vicar 
here,  who  informed  me  of  a  mandate  from  the  Holy 
Office  that  I  must  in  future  abstain  from  asking 
permission  to  return  to  Florence,  or  they  would 
take  me  back  to  Rome,  and  put  me  in  the  actual 
prison  of  the  Holy  Office.2  From  this  answer  it 

1  Vagabond  still,  Vincenzio  was  at  this  time  living  in  Florence  in 
a  house  which  his  father  had  settled  on  him  in  the  Via  della  Costa, 
and  close  to  the  Porta  San  Giorgio. 

2  This  savage  mandate  was  dictated  by  the  Pope  at  a  meeting 
held  on  23rd  March. 

342  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1634- 

seems  to  me  that  in  all  probability  my  present 
prison  will  only  be  exchanged  for  that  narrow  and 
long-enduring  one  which  awaits  us  all." 

He  then  goes  on  to  give  his  correspondent 
some  interesting  information  which  allows  us  to 
see  a  little  behind  the  scenes  of  this  terrible 
drama : — 

"  From  this  and  other  circumstances  which  it 
would  take  too  long  to  describe,  it  will  be  seen  that 
the  fury  of  my  powerful  persecutors  continually 
increases.  They  have,  at  length,  chosen  to  reveal 
themselves  to  me.  Thus,  about  two  months  ago 
when  a  dear  friend  of  mine  at  Rome  was  speaking 
of  my  affairs  to  Father  Cristoforo  Griemberger, 
mathematician  at  the  Collegia  Romano,  this  Jesuit 
uttered  the  following  precise  words  :  'If  Galileo 
had  only  known  how  to  retain  the  favour  of  the 
fathers  of  this  college  he  would  have  stood  in 
renown  before  the  world,  he  would  have  been 
spared  all  his  misfortunes,  and  could  have  written 
what  he  pleased  about  everything — even  about  the 
motion  of  the  earth/  From  this  you  will  see, 
honoured  Sir,  that  it  is  not  this  opinion  or  that 
which  has  brought  and  still  brings  about  my 
calamities,  but  my  being  in  disgrace  with  the 
Jesuits  .  .  .  . *  Add  to  all  this  other  troubles 
and  many  bodily  infirmities  which,  without 
mentioning  my  age  (more  than  seventy  years), 
so  overwhelm  me  that  the  least  fatigue 
exhausts  me  and  makes  me  ill.  For  all  these 
reasons  my  friends  must  be  indulgent  and  re- 
member that  that  which  at  first  sight  seems  to 
be  negligence  is  in  reality  only  powerlessness. 

"But  you,  honoured  Sir,  who  more  than  any 
other  have  wished  me  well,  you  will  keep  me  in  the 
affection  of  all  my  friends  in  Paris,  especially  of 

1636]     ALL  THE   WORK  OF  JESUITS     343 

Signer  Gassendi  whom  I  love  and  venerate  so 
much.  Please  communicate  to  him  the  contents  of 
this  letter,  and  tell  him  also  that  I  have  received  the 
dissertation  of  Signor  Martius  Hortensius  [on  the 
double  motion  of  the  earth],  and  that  I  have  read  it 
with  the  very  greatest  interest.  If  it  please  God  to 
deliver  me  from  a  part  of  the  evils  which  I  endure 
at  this  moment,  I  shall  not  fail  to  answer  his  amiable 

"  Berigard  and  Chiaramonti,1  professors  at  Pisa, 
have  written  long  works  against  me — the  latter  in 
his  own  defence ;  the  former  against  his  wish,  as  he 
says,  but  at  the  instigation  of  one  who  may  be 
useful  to  him  !  A  certain  Jesuit  father  has  printed 
at  Rome  that  the  opinion  of  the  motion  of  the  earth 
is  of  all  heresies  the  most  abominable,  the  most  per- 
nicious, the  most  scandalous ;  and  that  one  may 
maintain  in  professorial  chairs,  in  society,  in  public 
discussions,  and  in  books,  any  and  every  argument 
against  the  principal  articles  of  faith,  against  the 
immortality  of  the  soul,  against  the  creation,  against 
the  Incarnation,  against  everything,  with  one  ex- 
ception only — the  dogma  of  the  immobility  of  the 
earth !  The  title  of  this  production  is  '  Melchioris 
Inchofer  a  Societate  Jesu  Tractatus  Syllepticus.' 2  It 

1  This  man  was  one  of  the  most  bigoted  defenders  of  the  old 
philosophy,  and,  as  Montucla  says,  spent  a  long  life  in  nothing  but 
retarding  as  far  as  he  was  able  the  progress  of  science.    He  was  one  of 
the  Commission  appointed  in  1632  to  get  up  the  case  against  Galileo. 
(See  also  footnote,  p.  256  ante.) 

2  This  work  was  lauded  by  his  brother  Jesuits  "as  differing  so 
entirely  from  the  pruriency  of  the  Pythagorean  writings."    Quoting 
the  first  verse  of  Genesis  as  an  argument  that  the  earth  was  created 
after  the  heavens,  he  says  the  question  is  reduced  to  a  purely  geo- 
metrical problem.     In  the  formation  of  a  sphere  does  the  centre  or  the 
circumference  come  first  ?    If  the  latter,  the  consequence  is  inevitable, 
the  earth  is  in  the  centre  of  the  universe  !    The  title-page  of  this  book 
is  decorated  with  an  emblematical  figure,  representing  the  earth  in  a 
triangle  j  and  in  the  three  corners,  grasping  the  globe  with  their  fore 
feet,  are  the  three  bees  of  the  Pope's  arms,  with  the  .motto,  "ffis  fixa 
quiescit "  (fixed  by  these  it  is  at  rest). 

344  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1634- 

is  from  Rome  also  that  Antonio  Rocco  writes  in 
defence  of  the  peripatetic  philosophy,  and  with  such 
little  consideration  fpr  me.  He  acknowledges,  him- 
self, that  he  knows  nothing  of  mathematics  or 
astronomy.  He  has,  in  fact,  not  the  least  notion 
of  the  subjects  on  which  he  writes.1 

"  If  God  wills,  I  hope  to  publish  my  works  on 
Motion,  and  other  researches — all  more  important 
than  those  which  have  already  appeared.  This 
letter  will  reach  you  through  my  relative  Roberto 
Galilei,  to  whom  you  might  read  it,  as  I  have 
written  to  him  only  very  briefly.  ..." 

Full  of  labour  and  of  sorrow  his  life  had  been, 
and  full  of  labour  and  sorrow  it  was  to  continue  to 
the  end.  Though  crushed  by  grief  for  his 
daughter's  death,  the  habits  of  industry  acquired 
in  youth,  and  maintained  through  life,  could  not  be 
laid  aside  in  old  age.  Work  to  his  teeming  mind 
was  more  than  a  consolation,  it  was  a  necessity. 
Thus  it  is  that  but  a  few  months  after  Maria 
Celeste's  death,  we  find  him  rousing  himself,  and 
eagerly  at  work  again  on  his  new  Dialogues, 
wishing,  as  he  told  Diodati,  that  the  world  should 
see  the  last  of  his  labours  before  his  time  of  depar- 
ture came.  But,  as  he  wrote,  thoughts  crowded 
thick  and  fast  upon  him,  so  that  his  work  increased 
while  each  day  lessened  his  span  of  life.  "My 
restless  brain  goes  grinding  on,"  he  wrote  to 
Micanzio  on  igth  November  1634,  '('m  a  way  that 
causes  great  waste  of  time,  since  the  thought,  which 
comes  last  into  my  head  in  respect  of  some  novelty, 
drives  out  all  that  had  been  there  before."  He  also 

1  For  a  list  of  anti-Copernican  works  published  between  1632  and 
the  time  of  Newton,  1668,  see  Martin's  "  Galilee,"  note  B. 

1656]        ADVOCACY    OF    FRIENDS          345 

resumed  his  extensive  correspondence  with  scientific 
friends.  Unfortunately,  few  of  his  letters  of  this  and 
the  following  year  have  come  down  to  us,  so  that  we 
can  only  infer  the  subjects  from  the  answers  of  his 

While  the  prisoner  of  Arcetri  was  thus  fulfilling 
his  great  mission,  his  friends  took  every  opportunity 
of  trying  to  obtain,  at  least,  some  extension  of 
his  liberty.  Niccolini,  Comte  de  Noailles  (French 
Ambassador),  and  Niccolo  de  Peiresc  (in  letters 
from  Paris),  all  interceded  again  and  again  with  the 
Pope,  but  all  to  no  purpose.  His  Holiness  had  soft 
words  for  all  of  them,  but  nothing  was  done.1 

How  deep  was  the  undercurrent  of  bitterness  in 
Galileo's  heart  when  stirred  by  the  remembrance  of 
the  Jesuits*  machinations,  his  "  wretched  enemies," 
as  he  calls  them,  his  correspondence  of  this  period 
sufficiently  shows.  We  give  some  extracts  from 
his  letter  to  Niccol6  de  Peiresc,  2ist  February 
1635.  After  warm  thanks  for  the  noble  though 
fruitless  efforts  of  his  friend,  he  goes  on : — 

"  I  have  said,  my  Lord,  that  I  hope  for  no 
alleviation,  and  this  is  because  I  have  committed  no 
wrong.2  If  I  had  erred  I  might  hope  to  obtain 
grace  and  pardon,  since  the  transgressions  of  the 
subject  are.  the  means  by  which  the  prince  finds 
occasion  for  the  exercise  of  mercy  and  indulgence. 
Wherefore,  when  a  man  is  wrongly  condemned  to 
punishment,  it  becomes  necessary  for  his  judges  to 

1  De  Noailles  was  formerly  a  private  resident  pupil  of  Galileo  at 
Padua,  and  de  Peiresc  was  a  friend  of  Phrelli  at  whose  house  Galileo 
often  met  him. 

8  "  Forgiveness  to  the  injured  does  belong, 

But  they  ne'er  pardon  who  have  done  the  wrong." 

— DRYDEN,  Conquest  of  Granada. 

346  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

use  the  greater  severity  in  order  to  cover  their  own 
misapplication  of  the  law.  .  .  ,  Could  all  the  frauds, 
the  calumnies,  the  stratagems,  the  deceits,  which 
were  made  use  of  at  Rome  eighteen  years  ago  for 
the  purpose  of  imposing  on  the  supreme  authority — 
could  all  these,  I  say,  be  brought  to  light,  their  only 
effect  would  be  to  enhance  the  purity  and  upright- 
ness of  my  intentions.  But  you,  having  read  my 
works,  will  have  seen  how  they  justify  my  assertion 
of  sincerity,  and  you  will  have  understood  the  true 
cause  for  which,  under  the  mask  of  religion,  I  have 
been  persecuted,  and  which  now  continually  assails 
me  and  crosses  my  path,  so  that  no  help  can  come 
to  me  from  without ;  nor  can  I  undertake  my  own 
defence,  all  the  Inquisitors  having  received  ex- 
press orders  neither  to  allow  the  reprinting  of  my 
published  works,  nor  to  grant  a  licence  for  any 
fresh  work  I  may  wish  to  publish.  Thus  I  am  not 
only  reduced  to  silence  towards  those  who  strive  to 
distort  my  opinions,  and  so  to  make  my  ignorance 
(as  they  call  it)  manifest,  but  I  must  also  bear  the 
insults,  the  contempt,  and  the  bitter  taunts  of  men 
more  ignorant  than  myself,  without  being  able  to 
utter  a  word  in  my  own  defence. " 

The  Dialogues  on  The  Two  New  Sciences  (i.e. 
on  Cohesion  and  Resistance  to  fracture,  and  on 
Uniform,  accelerated,  and  projectile  motion)  were 
completed  by  the  summer  of  1636,  and  then  arose 
the  question  of  their  publication.  After  his  con- 
demnation in  1633,  the  Holy  Office  placed  his  name 
in  the  list  of  authors  whose  writings  edita  et  edenda 
were  strictly  forbidden,  and  so  rigorously  was 
this  rule  enforced,  that  Micanzio  was  not  permitted 
to  reprint  the  "  Discourse  on  Floating  Bodies," 
which  did  not  in  any  way  relate  to  the  Copernican 
doctrines.  Galileo  tried  Germany,  and  sent  the 


MS.  to  his  friend  Giovanni  Pieroni  in  Vienna,  only 
to  find  that  all  books  printed  there  must  first 
be  sanctioned  by  the  Jesuits,  amongst  whom  at 
the  moment  Galileo's  old  antagonist,  Father 
Scheiner,  happened  to  be  quartered.  So  Vienna 
would  not  do.  Through  the  intervention  of 
Cardinal  Dietrichstein,  Pieroni  then  got  permission 
to  print  at  Olmutz,  with  the  approbation  of  a 
Dominican  father,  so  that  the  business  may  be 
kept  secret  from  Scheiner  and  his  party.  But 
very  soon  after,  the  Cardinal  died,  and,  besides, 
Pieroni  was  not  pleased  with  the  Olmutz  press, 
so  the  MS.  was  brought  back  to  Vienna.  A  new 
approbation  was  procured  (Scheiner  having  gone 
meanwhile  into  Silesia)  and  the  work  was  on 
the  point  of  being  sent  to  the  press  when  the 
dreaded  Scheiner  reappeared.  Pieroni  next  took 
the  MS.  to  Prague,  where  Cardinal  Harrach 
offered  him  the  use  of  the  University  press ;  but 
here  again  difficulties  cropped  up.  Meanwhile 
Galileo,  wearied  with  these  delays,  opened  negotia- 
tions with  Louis  Elzevir  through  Micanzio  in 
Venice,  and,  finally,  the  work  appeared  at 
Amsterdam  in  1638. 

It  is  clear  from  Galileo's  correspondence  that 
this  edition  was  printed  with  his  full  concurrence, 
although,  in  order  to  obviate  trouble  with  Rome, 
he  pretended  that  it  was  pirated  from  a  MS. 
copy  which  he  had  sent  to  Comte  de  Noailles, 
tb  whom  the  work  is  dedicated. 

Rightly  did  Galileo,  in  his  letter  to  Vinta  of 
7th  May  1610,  call  his  work  in  mechanics  a  new 
science  invented  by  him  from  its  very  first 

348  THE     NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

principles.  That  this  is  no  exaggeration  is  shown 
by  the  following  passage  from  the  "  M^canique 
Analytique"  of  Lagrange,  the  great  Italian 
Mathematician,  and  an  undoubted  authority  on 
the  subject : — 

"  Dynamics  is  the  science  of  forces  accelerated 
or  retarded,  and  of  the  various  movements  which 
these  forces  can  produce.  This  science  is  due 
entirely  to  the  moderns,  and  Galileo  is  the  one 
who  laid  its  foundations.  Before  him  philosophers 
considered  the  forces  which  act  on  bodies  in  a 
state  of  equilibrium  only;  and,  although  they 
could  only  attribute  in  a  vague  way  the  accelera- 
tion of  heavy  bodies,  and  the  curvilinear  move- 
ment of  projectiles,  to  the  constant  action  of 
gravity,  nobody  had  yet  succeeded  in  determining 
the  laws  of  these  daily  phenomena  on  the  basis 
of  a  cause  so  simple.  Galileo  made  the  first 
important  steps,  and  thereby  opened  a  way,  new 
and  immense,  to  the  advancement  of  mechanics 
as  a  science. 

"  These  discoveries  did  not  bring  to  him 
while  living  as  much  celebrity  as  those  which 
he  had  made  in  the  heavens ;  but  to-day  his 
work  in  mechanics  forms  the  most  solid  and 
the  most  real  part  of  the  glory  of  this  great 
man.  The  discovery  of  Jupiter's  satellites,  of 
the  phases  of  Venus,  of  the  Sun-spots,  etc.,  required 
only  a  telescope  and  assiduity;  but  it  required 
an  extraordinary  genius  to  unravel  the  laws  of 
nature  in  phenomena  which  one  has  always 
under  the  eye,  but  the  explanation  of  which, 
nevertheless,  had  always  baffled  the  researches 
of  philosophers." 

The  Dialogue  is  carried  on  between  the  same 
speakers,   Salviati,   Sagredo,    and   Simplicio,  as   in 

1636]  NATURE'S  HORROR  OF  A  VACUUM  349 

the  "  Dialogues  on  the  Two  Principal  Systems 
of  the  World "  (1632).  The  first  two  of  the 
four  Dialogues  published  in  his  lifetime  are 
concerned  with  the  "  Resistance  of  Solids  against 
Fraction/'  and  the  "  Cause  of  Coherence  in 
Solids."  The  ostensible  object  of  the  first 
discussion  was  scarcely  reached,  while  the  second 
contains  little  beyond  an  analysis  of  formulae 
concerning  the  strength  of  beams.  Their  scientific 
value  lies  in  the  incidental  experiments  and  obser- 
vations on  motion  through  resisting  media. 

The  discussion  opens  with  a  short  examination 
of  the  current  belief  that  models  built  on  exactly 
similar  designs  but  on  different  scales  were  of 
strength  in  proportion  to  their  linear  dimensions. 
After  exposing  the  error,  Salviati  enquires  what 
is  the  nature  of  the  force  that  holds  up  the  lower 
part  of  a  rod  suspended  from  above.  No  complete 
explanation  is  forthcoming;  but  that  suggested 
depends  upon  Nature's  repugnance  to  the  vacuum 
momentarily  produced  by  the  sudden  separation 
of  two  flat  surfaces.  This  leads  to  an  experiment 
proposed  by  Salviati  for  measuring  what  he  speaks 
of  as  the  force  of  a  vacuum. 

This  experiment  occasions  a  remark  from 
Sagredo  that  he  had  observed  that  a  pump  would 
not  work  when  the  water  in  the  cistern  had  sunk 
35  feet  below  the  valve;  that  he  thought  the 
pump  was  injured,  and  sent  for  the  maker,  who 
assured  him  that  no  pump  of  that  construction 
would  lift  water  from  so  great  a  depth.  This 
story  is  usually  told  as  if  Galileo  had  said  jokingly 
that  Nature's  horror  of  a  vacuum  does  not  ex- 

350  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

tend  beyond  35  feet.1  He  evidently  shared  the 
common  notion  of  suction,  for  he  compares  the 
column  of  water  to  a  metal  rod  suspended  from 
its  upper  end,  which  may  be  lengthened  till  it 
breaks  by  its  own  weight.  It  is  remarkable 
that  he  failed  to  observe  how  simply  this  pheno- 
menon may  be  explained  by  a  reference  to  the 
weight  of  the  atmosphere — a  fact  with  which 
he  was  well  acquainted,  and,  indeed,  goes  on 
in  this  dialogue  to  describe  an  experiment  for 
determining  the  weight  of  air  as  compared  with 


After  a  rather  lengthy  digression  on  the  motion 
of  a  rolling  circular  hoop,  in  which  Galileo  brings 
forward  some  truths  probably  new  at  the  time, 
but  not  essential  to  the  main  subject  of  the  present 
dialogues,  we  come  to  more  important  matter 
in  the  discussion  of  motion  through  resisting 
media.  This  is  introduced  by  some  vague 
suggestions  as  to  the  nature  of  the  action  of 
heat  on  solid  bodies,  leading  on  to  a  short 
reference  to  light  phenomena,  which,  Salviati 
insists,  imply  motion  through  a  medium  of  some 

This  statement  introduces  Aristotle's  theory 
that  bodies  move  with  velocities  proportional  to 
their  weights  and  inversely  proportional  to  the 
densities  of  the  media  through  which  they  are 

1  The  first  appearance  of  the  story  in  this  form  has  been  traced 
to  Pascal's  "Traitez  de  Tequilibre  des  Liqueurs"  (preface),  Paris, 

a  Galileo'?  way  of  determining  the  specific  gravity  of  the  air 
was  first  described  in  his  letter  to  Gio.  Battista  Baliani,  dated 
I2th  March  1613,  now  in  the  Brera  Library,  Milan. 

1636]     LAWS   OF  FALLING  BODIES        351 

moving.  This  proposition  is  examined  in  a  strict 
scientific  method.  Heavy  bodies  of  different 
weights  are  dropped  in  air  to  test  the  truth  of 
the  first  part  of  the  statement ;  and  afterwards 
the  motion  of  bodies  rising  or  falling  in  liquids 
is  considered ;  the  result  being  to  Substitute  for 
Aristotle's  hasty  assumption  that  law  of  the  motion 
of  falling  bodies  which  is  historically  the  founda- 
tion of  the  science  of  dynamics. 

Two  stones  are  dropped  in  air ;  their  weights 
are  respectively  eight  and  four  units.  Aristotle's 
theory  requires  that  the  first  shall  travel  with 
twice  the  velocity  of  the  second;  that,  in  fact,  if 
the  second  have  four,  then,  the  first  will  have 
eight  degrees  of  velocity.  Salviati  states  that  this 
does  not  agree  with  experiment;  but  he  further 
reduces  the  dictum  to  an  absurdity  by  considering 
the  effect  of  fastening  the  two  stones  together. 
Common-sense  would  have  it  that  the  result  would 
be  a  hurrying  of  the  slower  and  a  delaying  of  the 
faster  traveller,  producing  a  mean  velocity  of  some- 
where between  four  and  eight  velocity-units. 
Actual  experiment  would  show  that,  according 
to  the  manner  of  fastening  and  the  shape  and 
distribution  of  weight  in  the  stones,  it  might  be 
possible  to  obtain  a  velocity  slightly  in  excess  of 
that  of  the  heavier  stone  when  falling  alone.  But 
neither  common-sense  nor  experiment  agrees  with 
Aristotle's  statement,  according  to  which  the 
compound  body,  now  containing  twelve  units  of 
weight,  ought  to  travel  with  twelve  units  of  velocity. 
So  far,  indeed,  is  Aristotle  from  the  truth  that 
Salviati  asserts  that  if  a  stone  weighing  twenty 

352  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

pounds  and  another  weighing  two  pounds  be 
dropped  simultaneously  from  a  tower  50  or  100 
yards  high,  they  will  reach  the  earth  at  the  very 
same  moment. 

"And  I  would  not  have  you  do  as  some  are 
wont,  who  fasten  upon  some  saying  of  mine  that 
may  want  a  hair's  breadth  of  the  truth,  and  under 
this  hair  seek  to  hide  another  man's  blunder  as  big 
as  a  cable.  Aristotle  says  that  an  iron  ball  weigh- 
ing 100  Ibs.  will  fall  through  a  space  of  100 
yards  while  a  weight  of  one  pound  is  falling 
through  a  space  of  one  yard.  /  say  they  will 
reach  the  ground  together.  They  find  the  greater 
weight  to  anticipate  the  lesser  by  two  inches,  and 
under  these  two  inches  they  seek  to  hide  Aristotle's 
99  yards ! " 

So  Galileo  satisfied  himself  that  the  current 
belief  was  wide  of  the  truth ;  and  that  it  was  more 
nearly  correct  to  say  that  heavy  bodies,  dropped 
through  the  air,  fell  with  the  same  increasing 
velocities,  whatever  their  weights,  provided  only 
those  weights  were  sufficient  to  overcome  with 
ease  the  air's  resistance  to  their  motion.  He 
proceeds  to  examine  the  motion  of  bodies  sinking 
or  rising  in  water  and  other  liquids  ;  and  he  brings 
forward  a  group  of  experimental  facts  which,  viewed 
in  the  light  of  Aristotle's  statement,  form  a  mass  of 
contradiction.  Putting  this  antiquated  theory  aside, 
Salviati  enquires  what  is  meant  by  the  rising  of 
some  bodies  in  a  medium,  and  shows  that  only 
those  bodies  rise  which  are  lighter  than  the 
medium.  The  rising  of  an  inflated  bladder  in  the 
air  suggests  that  the  atmosphere  must  have 
weight.  Simplicio's  assertion  that  it  is  on  the 

1636]       LAWS  OF  FALLING  BODIES        353 

contrary  the  bladder  in  this  case  that  has  levity  is 
trivial,  and  is  immediately  disproved.  Continuing 
his  line  of  argument,  Salviati  points  out  that  the 
question  of  rising  or  falling  depends  on  the  gravity 
of  the  medium  as  compared  with  that  of  the  moving 
body ;  further,  that  when  the  motion  of  the  body, 
either  upwards  or  downwards,  has  once  commenced, 
the  different  media  offer  different  resistances  to  the 
motion,  the  heavier  media,  such  as  quicksilver  and 
water,  interfering  more  than  air  with  the  motion  of 
a  body ;  and  we  are  thus  led  to  the  following 
summing-up  by  Salviati. 

"We  have  found  the  difference  of  velocities  in 
movables  of  different  gravities  to  be  more  and 
more  as  the  media  are  more  and  more  resisting ; 
thus,  in  a  medium  of  quicksilver,  gold  does  not  only 
sink  to  the  bottom  more  swiftly  than  lead,  but  it  is 
the  only  thing  that  will  sink  in  it,  all  other  metals 
and  stones  moving  upwards  therein  and  floating  on 
its  surface.  Whereas  between  balls  of  gold,  lead, 
brass,  or  any  other  heavy  matter,  the  inequality  of 
their  motion  in  the  air  shall  be  almost  wholly 
insensible,  so  that,  indeed,  a  ball  of  gold  falling  from 
a  height  of  100  yards  in  the  end  of  its  fall  does  not 
outstrip  one  of  wax  by  four  inches." 

And  then  comes  Galileo's  bold,  but  justifiable 
deduction : — 

"This  being  so,  I  have  thought  that  if  the 
resistance  of  the  media  be  wholly  taken  away,  all 
matter  would  descend  with  equal  velocity." 

This  fundamental  law  once  stated  is  amplified 
later  on  in  the  Dialogue,  when  Salviati  explains 
that  :— 

354  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

"  A  heavy  body  has  by  nature  an  intrinsic  force 
or  principle  of  moving  towards  the  common  centre 
of  heavy  things  (the  centre  of  the  earth)  with  a 
motion  continually  accelerated  in  such  manner  that 
in  equal  times  there  are  always  equal  additions  of 
velocity.  This  is  to  be  understood  as  holding  true 
only  when  all  accidental  and  external  impediments 
are  removed,  amongst  which  is  one  that  we  cannot 
obviate,  namely,  the  resistance  of  the  medium. 
This  opposes  itself  more  or  less  according  as  it 
opens  slowly  or  speedily  to  make  way  for  the 
moving  body,  which,  being  continually  accelerated, 
encounters  a  continually  increasing  resistance  in  the 
medium,  until  at  last  the  velocity  reaches  that 
degree  and  the  resistance  that  power  that  they 
balance  each  other.  All  further  acceleration  is  then 
prevented,  and  the  movable  continues  for  ever  after 
with  a  uniform  and  equable  motion." 

The  description  of  the  motion  of  a  falling  body 
in  the  first  Dialogue  is  followed  by  a  reference  to  the 
oscillation  of  a  pendulum  ;  and  this  in  turn  leads  to 
a  digression,  in  which  Galileo  quotes  a  number  of 
interesting  experiments  on  sound.  These  it  will  be 
best  for  the  present  to  pass  over,  as  also  the  con- 
tents of  the  second  Dialogue.  The  more  important 
work  in  dynamics  is  resumed  in  the  third  and  fourth 
Dialogues,  on  <{  Local  Motion"  and  "  Motion  of 
Projectiles,"  the  outline  of  which  must  be  indicated 
in  a  few  words. 

No  new  physical  facts  of  importance  are  quoted ; 
these  two  Dialogues  are  mainly  concerned  with 
theorems  and  formulae  deduced  mathematically 
from  the  phenomena  explained  in  the  first  Dialogue. 
The  discussion  of  uniform  motion,  however,  involves 
a  more  emphatic  statement  than  before  of  the  prin- 

1636]         ACCELERATED    MOTION          355 

ciple  of  inertia — that  a  body  projected  along  a 
smooth  horizontal  plane  would,  if  all  resistances  and 
external  impediments  were  removed,  continue  to 
move  uniformly  along  that  horizontal  plane  for  ever. 
Generalised,  this  statement  would  be  equivalent  to 
Newton's  first  law  of  motion.  From  the  definition 
of  uniform  motion  as  that  of  a  body  which  moves  in 
one  direction  so  as  to  cover  equal  spaces  in  equal 
intervals  of  time,  Salviati  proceeds  to  deduce  the 
elementary  formulae,  which  his  two  listeners  readily 

The  definition  of  uniformly  accelerated  motion, 
however,  at  once  introduces  a  difficulty.  Salviati 
gives  the  correct  description  of  it  as  that  of  a  body 
which  moves  in  such  a  manner  that  in  equal  intervals 
of  time  it  receives  equal  increments  of  velocity.  An 
alternative  is  suggested  by  Sagredo,  and  Simplicio — 
sympathising  as  usual  with  Sagredo's  untenable  pro- 
positions— is  of  course  "  of  the  number  of  those  who 
allow  that  a  descending  body  vires  acquirit  eundo  "  ; 
in  fact,  that  the  increments  of  velocity  should  be 
specified  in  relation  to ?  the  space  rather  than  the 
time  through  which  the  body  has  travelled.  They 
first  appeared  to  think  that  the  two  statements  would 
be  equivalent  and  that  theirs  took  the  more  direct 
form.  It  is  pointed  out  by  Salviati  that  the  two  are 
inconsistent,  and  he  rightly  conjectures  that  a  direct 
reference  of  acceleration  to  the  space  described  rather 
than  to  the  time  of  travelling  would  lead  to  hopeless 
complications.  He  proceeds,  accordingly,  from  his 
own  definition  to  deduce  formulae  connecting  all 
these  variable  quantities — time  of  motion,  velocity 
acquired,  and  space  described — with  one  another. 

3$6  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

An  interesting  application  of  the  results  obtained 
follows.  He  examines  the  times  of  descent  down 
differently  inclined  planes,  assuming  as  a  postulate 
that  the  velocity  acquired  by  a  body  falling  down  an 
inclined  plane  was  the  same  for  all  planes  of  the 
same  height.  This  fact  he  had  verified  by  careful 
experiments,  although  he  was  unable  at  the  time  to 
account  for  it.1  After  the  inclined  plane  comes  an 
investigation  of  "  lines  of  quickest  descent " — a 
group  of  interesting  problems,  though  not  of 
essential  importance  in  the  development  of  the 
science  of  dynamics.  Here  he  shows  that  the 
descent  of  bodies  along  an  arc  of  a  circle  of  legs 
than  90°  is  shorter  than  the  time  occupied  by  the 
same  bodies  in  traversing  the  chord  of  the  arc — 
"which  at  first  sight  would  seem  to  be  a  paradox, 
the  arc  being  longer  than  its  chord/' 

This  investigation  completed,  the  way  is  prepared 
for  the  subject  of  the  fourth  Dialogue.  Sagredo, 
anticipating  mathematical  difficulties,  begs  for  some 
preliminary  instruction  in  the  properties  of  the 
parabola,  after  which  Salviafei  turns  to  the  spbject  of 
projectiles,  and  lays  down  the  law  of  the  independ- 
ence of  the  horizontal  and  vertical  motions.  A  body 
projected  horizontally  would  (but  for  its  weight 
and  "  external  impediments "  which  we  suppose 
removed)  continue  to  move ;  and  Salviati  contends 
that  as  the  effect  of  gravity  acting  by  itself  would 
be  entirely  downwards,  gravity  acting  on  the  hori- 

1  Viviani  relates  that  soon  after  he  joined  Galileo,  he  drew  his 
master's  attention  to  this  flaw  in  the  argument.  The  same  night,  as 
Galileo  lay  in  bed,  sleepless  through  indisposition,  he  discovered  the 
necessary  mathematical  demonstration.  It  was  introduced  into  the 
subsequent  editions  of  the  Dialogues,  Sixth  "  Day." 



zontally  projected  body  can  neither  increase  nor 
diminish  the  rate  at  which  it  travels  horizontally. 
Therefore,  whatever  be  the  shape  of  the  path  or  the 
real  direction  of  motion  at  any  moment,  the  horizontal 
part  of  the  motion  is  uniform,  and  the  distance 
travelled  horizontally  may,  therefore,  be  taken  as  a 
measure  of  the  time  that  has  elapsed  since  motion 

Salviati  proves  that  on  this  assumption  the  path 
described  has  geometrical  properties  which  identify 
it  with  the  curve  known  as  the  parabola.  His 
demonstration  is  essentially  that  now  given  in 
works  on  elementary  dynamics  ;  the  present  account 
of  the  dialogues  would,  however,  be  incomplete  with- 
out a  quotation  of  the  proof  in  Galileo's  form. 


Fig.  9. 

"  Let  A  B  represent  a  horizontal  line  or  plane 
placed  on  high,  on  which  let  a  body  be  carried 
with  an  equable  motion  from  A  towards  B ;  and 
the  support  of  the  plane  being  taken  away  at  B, 
let  the  natural  motion  downwards  due  to  the  body's 
weight  come  upon  it  in  the  direction  of  the  perpen- 
dicular B  N.  Moreover,  let  the  straight  line  B  E 
(a  prolongation  of  A  B)  represent  the  flow  or 

358  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

measure  of  the  time,  on  which  let  any  number 
of  equal  parts  B  C,  C  D,  D  E,  be  marked,  and 
from  the  points  C,  D,  E,  let  lines  be  drawn  parallel 
to  B  N.  In  the  first  of  these  let  any  part  C  I 
be  taken,  and  let  D  F  be  taken  four  times  as  great 
as  C  I  ;  EH  nine  times  as  great,  and  so  on.  Now, 
if  we  suppose  that  whilst  by  its  uniform  horizontal 
motion  the  body  moves  from  B  to  C,  it  also 
descends  by  its  weight  through  C  I,  and  at  the 
end  of  the  time  denoted  by  B  C  it  will  be  at  I. 
In  the  time  B  D,  double  of  B  C,  it  will  have  fallen 
four  times  as  far ;  for  in  the  first  part  of  this  treatise 
it  has  been  shown  that  the  spaces  fallen  through 
by  a  heavy  body  vary  as  the  squares  of  the  times. 
Similarly,  at  the  end  of  the  time  B  E,  or  three 
times  B  C,  it  will  have  fallen  through  E  H,  and 
will  be  at  H.  Now,  it  is  plain  that  the  points  I, 
F,  H,  are  in  the  same  parabolical  curve  B,  I, 
F,  H." 

It  only  remains  to  verify  whether  the  parabola 
as  defined  geometrically  is  actually  the  path  of  the 
moving  body.  This,  as  Salviati  states,  is  true 
under  certain  conditions.  Firstly,  the  path  tra- 
versed must  be  of  small  dimensions  as  compared 
with  the  dimensions  of  the  earth";  this  is  necessary 
in  order  that  the  horizontal  direction  and  the 
direction  of  gravity  may  be  the  same  throughout 
the  motion.  And  secondly,  the  resistance  of  the 
air  so  far  modifies  the  motion,  that  the  true 
parabola  is  only  possible  on  the  supposition 
that  motion  takes  place  in  vacuo ;  the  resist- 
ance of  the  air,  however,  is  reduced  to  a 
minimum  if  we  examine  the  motion  of  a  heavy 
body  of  small  dimensions  travelling  with  only  a 
moderate  velocity. 

1636]  PARABOLIC    MOTION  359 

After  demonstrating  the  parabolic  nature  of  the 
path,  Galileo  enquires  into  certain  points  of  interest 
with  regard  to  it,  and  gives  proofs  of  many  of  the 
elementary  propositions  which  in  modern  text-books 
are  associated  with  parabolic  motion.  He  also 
draws  up  a  table  giving  the  position  and  dimensions 
of  the  parabola  described  with  any  given  direc- 
tion of  projection ;  finding  by  this  means  what 
he  would  have  been  unable  to  give  a  strict 
mathematical  proof  of — that  the  range  on  a  hori- 
zontal plane  is  greatest  when  the  angle  of 
elevation  is  45°. 

The  discussion  of  parabolic  motion  occupies  the 
remainder  of  the  Dialogue.  Only  one  passage 
needs  special  mention.  A  bullet  fired  horizontally 
travels  fast,  yet  not  instantaneously;  however 
rapidly  it  moves  it  takes  time  to  travel  even 
a  short  distance ;  therefore  gravity  will  draw  it 
downwards,  though  ever  so  slightly,  below  the 
horizontal  line  which  was  its  original  direction.  If 
.one. would  hit  a  mark,  it  is,  therefore,  useless  to 
fire  straight  at  it.  Sagredo  had  noticed  this,  and 
remarks  also  on  what  it  appeared  to  him  might 
be  an  allied  phenomenon — that  a  rope  hanging 
between  two  points  at  the  same  height  cannot  be 
drawn  absolutely  straight  however  tightly  it  may  be 
pulled.  Salviati  shows  that  this  is  due  to  the 
weight  of  the  rope,  just  as  the  drop  of  the 
bullet  is  due  to  its  weight  He  continues  "as 
follows : — 

"  Besides,  I  must  tell  you  that  which  at  the 
same  time  will  both  amaze  and  delight  you;  'tis 
this,  that  the  rope,  thus  stretched  more  or  less, 

360  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

bends  itself  into  lines  very  nearly  parabolical.  And 
the  likeness  is  such,  that  if  on  a  plane  surface  per- 
pendicular to  the  horizon  you  describe  a  parabolic 
line,  and  turn  it  upside  down,  and  to  the  extremities 
of  the  base  of  the  described  parabola  you  hold  a 
chain  or  cord,  by  slackening  it  more  or  less  you'll 
see  it  bend  and  fit  itself  to  the  same  parabola. 
And  this  fitting  shall  be  so  much  the  more  exact 
by  how  much  the  described  parabola  is  less  curved, 
i.e.,  more  distended ;  so  that  in  parabolas  described 
at  elevations  less  than  45 °,  the  chain  agrees  with 
them  almost  to  a  hair." 

Galileo  has  sometimes  been  accused  of  having 
stated  the  curve  of  the  suspended  chain  actually 
to  be  a  parabola.  From  the  passage  quoted  it  is 
clear  that  the  charge  is  unfounded.  The  catenary 
resembles  the  parabola ;  and,  as  Galileo  justly 
remarks,  the  resemblance  is  very  striking  if  the 
string  is  so  far  taut  that  the  depth  of  the  lowest 
point  is  less  than  a  quarter  of  the  distance  between 
the  two  extremities.  Galileo's  theory  of  dynamics, 
which  we  have  traced  briefly,  constitutes  the  more 
important  part  of  the  Dialogues  on  the  <c  Two 
New  Sciences."1 

In  order  to  preserve  continuity,  no  reference  has 
been  made  to  the  subject  of  the  second  Dialogue. 
It  is  an  investigation  of  the  strength  of  beams — 
an  amplification  of  his  researches  on  the  same 

1  "In  solving  the  problems  of  falling  bodies  and  of  projectiles, 
Galileo  was  essentially  applying  the  principles  of  the  Differential  or 
Fluxional  or  Indivisible  Calculus.  If  pure  mathematics  had  attracted 
him  as  strongly  as  its  application  to  physks,  he  would  have  thought 
these  problems  out,  and  would  have  founded  the  Fluxional  Calculus, 
which  is  the  glory  of  Nvewton  and  of  Leibnitz."  Professor  Jack  in 
"  Nature,"  vol.  xxi.  p,  58.  See  note,  p,  120  ante. 

1636]  STRENGTH    OF    BEAMS  361 

subject,  dating  back  to  1609.  Beyond  Aristotle's 
remark  that  long  beams  are  weak  because  they 
are  at  once  the  weight,  the  lever,  and  the  fulcrum, 
nothing  appears  to  have  been  written  on  the 
subject  before  Galileo  took  it  up.  In  this  he  under- 
takes a  problem  which  is  far  more  intricate  than 
he  realised.  A  beam  is  fastened  into  a  stone  wall 
at  one  end  and  at  the  other  supports  a  heavy 
weight;  Galileo  enquires  into  the  strength  of  the 
beam  to  resist  a  snapping  tendency.  He  assumes 
the  point  at  which  the  fracture  will  take  place  to 
be  close  to  the  support.  He  further  assumes  that 
just  before  the  moment  of  fracture  the  two  parts 
of  the  beam  will  be  holding  together  by  means 
of  a  uniform  force  distributed  uniformly  over  the 
section,  as  if  the  solid  were  equivalent  "  to  a  bundle 
of  fibres/5  which  were  all  strained  equally  in  the 
direction  of  their  length  at  the  moment  of  snapping  ; 
and  this  although  the  fracture  is  assumed  to  begin 
at  the  top,  the  lowest  fibre  being  the  last  to  give 

The  curvature  of  a  beam  subject  to  any  system 
of  strains  is  a  subject  into  which,  before  the  days 
of  Newton,  it  was  impossible  to  enquire.  And 
even  in  the  simpler  problem  considered  by  Galileo, 
he  makes  assumptions  which  require  justifying. 
Still,  the  discussion  is  interesting  as  the  first  serious 
attempt  to  examine  this  difficult  statical  problem. 
The  formulae  obtained,  if  they  are  wanting  in  detail, 
prove  that,  however  vague  Galileo's  ideas  of  force, 
he  fully  realised  the  mathematical  fact  underlying  the 
theory  of  models — that  if  two  frameworks  are  built 
on  exactly  the  same  plans  but  on  different  scales, 

362  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

their  strengths  are  not  of  necessity  proportional 
to  their  dimensions. 

On  the  subject  of  light,  Galileo  has  left  very 
little  in  theory;  his  best  work  in  this  field  was 
the  invention  of  the  telescope  with  which  his  name 
is  universally  associated. 

A  suggestion  in  the  first  Dialogue  that,  perhaps, 
heat  dissolves  bodies  by  insinuating  itself  between 
their  minute  particles  brings  on  the  subject  of 
light ;  on  which  Sagredo  enquires  whether  we  are 
to  take  for  granted  that  the  effect  of  light  does  or 
does  not  require  time.  Simplicio  is  ready  with  an 
answer,  that  the  discharge  of  artillery  proves  the 
transmission  of  light  to  be  instantaneous ;  to  which 
Sagredo  cautiously  replies,  that  nothing  can  be 
gathered  from  that  experiment  except  that  light 
travels  more  swiftly  than  sound ;  nor  can  we  draw 
any  decisive  conclusion  from  the  rising  of  the  sun. 
"Who  can  assure  us  that  he  is  not  in  the  horizon 
before  his  rays  reach  our  sight?"  Salviati  then 
mentions  an  experiment  by  which  he  endeavoured 
to  examine  this  question.  Two  observers  are  each 
to  be  furnished  with  a  lantern ;  as  soon  as  the 
first  shades  his  light,  the  second  is  to  uncover  his, 
and  this  is  to  be  repeated  at  a  short  distance  till 
the  observers  are  perfect  in  the  practice.  The  same 
thing  is  then  to  be  tried  at  the  distance  of  several 
miles,  and  if  the  first  observer  perceive  any  delay 
between  shading  his  own  light  and  the  appearance 
of  his  companion's,  it  is  to  be  attributed  to  the 
time  taken  by  the  light  in  traversing  twice  the 
distance  between  them.  He  allows  that  he  could 
discover  no  perceptible  interval  at  the  distance  of 

i636]  VELOCITY    OF    LIGHT  363 

a  mile,  at  which  he  had  tried  the  experiment,  but 
recommends  that  with  the  help  of  a  telescope  it 
should  be  tried  at  much  greater  distances.1 

The  only  other  subject  remaining  to  be  noticed 
is  the  application  of  the  theory  of  the  pendulum 
to  musical  concords  and  dissonances,  which  are 
explained,  in  the  same  manner  as  by  Kepler  in 
his  "  Harmonice  Mundi,"  to  result  from  the 
concurrence  or  opposition  of  vibrations  of  the 
air  striking  upon  the  drum  of  the  ear.  It  is 
shown  that  these  vibrations  may  be  made  mani- 
fest by  rubbing  the  finger  round  a  glass  set  in  a 
large  vessel  of  water;  "and  if  by  pressure  the 
note  is  suddenly  made  to  rise  to  the  octave  above, 
every  one  of  the  undulations,  which  will  be  seen 
regularly  spreading  round  the  glass,  will  suddenly 
split  into  two,  proving  that  the  vibrations  that 
occasion  the  octave  are  double  those  belonging 
to  the  simple  note."  Galileo  then  describes  a 
method  he  discovered  by  accident  of  measuring 
the  length  of  these  waves  more  accurately  than 
can  be  done  in  the  agitated  water.  He  was 
scraping  a  brass  plate  with  an  iron  chisel,  to  take 
out  some  spots,  and  moving  the  tool  rapidly  upon 
the  plate,  he  occasionally  heard  a  hissing  and 
whistling  sound,  and  whenever  this  occurred,  and 
then  only,  he  observed  the  light  dust  on  the  plate 

1  This  was  done  some  years  later  by  the  Florentine  Accademia 
del  Cimento,  with  the  result  that  as  the  observers  became  more 
expert  the  interval  became  shorter,  so  that  there  was  no  reason  to 
suppose  that  there  was  any  interval  at  all.  In  shorty  light  seemed 
to  them  to  travel  instantaneously.  Roemer,  the  JDanish  astronomer, 
first  calculated  in  1675  the  velocity  of  light,  and  found  it  to  be  about 
200,000  miles  per  second,  a  close  approximation  to  the  modern  figure, 
viz.  186,000. 

364  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

to  arrange  itself  in  a  long  row  of  small  parallel 
streaks  equidistant  from  each  other.  In  repeated 
experiments  he  produced  different  tones  by  scraping 
with  greater  or  less  velocity,  and  remarked  that 
the  streaks  produced  by  the  acute  sounds  stood 
closer  together  than  those  from  the  low  notes. 
Among  the  sounds  produced  were  two,  which  by 
comparison  with  a  viol  he  ascertained  to  differ 
by  an  exact  fifth;  and  measuring  the  spaces  oc- 
cupied by  the  streaks  in  both  experiments,  he 
found  thirty  of  the  one  equal  to  forty-five  of  the 
other,  which  is  exactly  the  known  proportion  of 
the  lengths  of  strings  of  the  same  material  which 
sound  a  fifth  to  each  other.1 

Salviati  also  remarks  that  if  the  material  be 
not  the  same,  as  for  instance  if  it  be  required  to 
sound  an  octave  to  a  note  on  catgut  on  a  wire 
of  the  same  length,  the  weight  of  the  wire  must 
be  made  four  times  as  great,  and  so  on  for  other 
intervals.  "The  immediate  cause  of  the  musical 
pitch  is  neither  the  length,  the  tension,  nor  the 
thickness,  but  the  proportion  of  the  numbers  of 
the  undulations  of  the  air  which  strike  upon  the 
drum  of  the  ear,  and  make  it  vibrate  in  the  same 
intervals  of  time,  Hence  we  may  gather  a 
plausible  reason  for  the  different  sensations  oc- 
casioned in  us  by  different  couples  of  sounds,  of 
which  we  hear  some  with  great  pleasure,  some 
with  less,  and  call  them  accordingly  concords,  more 
or  less  perfect;  whilst  some  excite  in  us  great 

1  This  beautiful  experiment  has  been  largely  used  in  modern 
times  by  Chladni,  Savart,  and  Wheatstone,  with  very  interesting 

1636]       CONCORDS   AND  DISCORDS       365 

dissatisfaction,  and  are  called  discords.  The  dis- 
agreeable sensation  belonging  to  the  latter, 
probably,  arises  from  the  disorderly  manner  in 
which  the  vibrations  strike  the  drum  of  the  ear; 
so  that,  for  instance,  a  very  harsh  discord  would 
be  produced  by  sounding  together  two  strings  of 
which  the  lengths  are  to  each  other  as  the  side 
and  diagonal  of  a  square,  which  is  the  discord  of 
the  false  fifth.  On  the  contrary,  agreeable  concords 
will  result  from  these  strings  of  which  the  numbers 
of  vibrations  made  in  the  same  time  are  com- 
mensurable, for  then  the  cartilage  of  the  drum 
does  not  undergo  the  incessant  torture  of  a 
double  inflexion  which  results  from  discordant 
percussions."  The  sense  of  pleasure  in  musical 
harmony  involves  questions  which  have  yet  to  be 
answered.  But  Galileo's  suggestion  above  has  in 
it  that  degree  of  precision  which  distinguishes  all 
his  thought  from  that  of  the  vague  theorists  of 
his  day. 

Something  similar  may  be  exhibited  to  the  eye 
by  hanging  up  pendulums  of  different  lengths. 
"If  these  be  proportioned  so  that  the  times  of 
their  vibrations  correspond  with  those  of  the 
musical  concords,  the  eye  will  observe  with 
pleasure  their  crossings  and  inter-crossings  re- 
curring at  appreciable  intervals ;  but  if  the  times 
of  vibration  be  incommensurate,  the  eye  will  soon 
be  wearied  in  following  them." 

No  sooner  was  the  MS.  of  these  Dialogues 
out  of  his  hands  (summer  of  1636)  than  Galileo's 
ever  busy  brain  began  to  form  new  projects. 
"If  I  live,"  he  wrote  on  isth  July  1636,  to 

366  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

Bernegger  of  Strasburg,1  "  I  intend  to  put  in  order 
a  series  of  natural  and  mathematical  problems  which 
I  think  will  be  as  curious  as  they  are  novel." 
These  were  left  unfinished,  and  now  form  the 
fifth  and  sixth  Dialogues  which  were  added  to  a 
later  edition  by  Viviani  after  Galileo's  death.  The 
fragment  of  the  fifth  is  on  the  subject  of  Euclid's 
definition  of  ratio  (Book  V.  props.  5  and  7),  and 
was  intended  to  form  a  part  of  the  third  Dialogue, 
and  to  follow  the  first  proposition  on  equable 
motion.  The  sixth  Dialogue  was  intended  to 
embody  Galileo's  researches  on  the  force  of 
Percussion,  on  which  he  was  employed  at  the 
time  of  his  death. 

"  In  the  last  days  of  his  life,"  says  Viviani,  "  and 
amid  much  physical  suffering,  his  mind  was  con- 
stantly occupied  with  mechanical  and  mathematical 
problems.  He  had  the  idea  of  composing  two 
other  Dialogues  to  be  added  to  the  four  already 
published.  In  the  first  he  intended  to  insert  many 
new  demonstrations  and  reflections  on  various 
passages  in  the  first  four  Dialogues,  besides  the 
solution  of  many  problems  in  Aristotle's  physics. 
In  the  second  he  proposed  to  discuss,  treating  it 
geometrically,  an  entirely  new  science,  viz.  the 
wondrous  force  of  percussion,  which  he  claimed  to 
have  discovered,  and  which,  he  said,  exceeded  by 
a  long  way  his  speculations  on  the  same  subject 
formerly  published  "  ("Vita  di  Galileo/'  1654). 

In  these  Dialogues  in  which  Galileo  recapitu- 
lates the  results  of  his  early  mechanical  researches 

1  The  editor  of  the  Latin  edition  of  his  Dialogues  of  1632,  which 
was  brought  out  by  the  Elzevirs  in  1635.  The  translation  was  really 
by  Diodati  of  Paris,  to  whom  Galileo  had  sent  a  copy  of  the  work  as 
first  printed  in  Italian. 

i636]  LAWS     OF    MOTION  367 

at  Pisa  and  Padua,  and  of  his  life-long  meditations, 
he  does  not  formulate  in  definite  laws  the  inter- 
dependence of  force  and  motion.  This  was  done 
for  the  first  time  by  Newton  at  the  beginning  of 
his  "Principia"  (1687),  and  hence  they  are  rightly 
called  "  Newton's  Laws  of  Motion";  but  in  justice 
to  Galileo  it  must  be  admitted  that  he  not  only 
prepared  the  way  for  Newton,  but  supplied  him 
with  much  of  his  materials.  Thus,  the  first  law  as 
stated  by  Newton — that  a  body  will  continue  in  a 
state  of  rest,  or  of  uniform  motion  in  a  straight  line, 
until  it  is  compelled  to  change  its  state  from  some 
force  impressed  upon  it — is  a  generalisation  of 
Galileo's  theory  of  uniform  motion.  Since  all  the 
motions  that  we  see  taking  place  on  the  surface  of 
the  earth  .soon  come  to  an  end,  we  are  led  to 
suppose  that  continuous  movements,  such,  for 
instance,  as  those  of  the  celestial  bodies,  can  only  be 
maintained  by  a  perpetual  consumption  and  a 
perpetual  application  of  force,  and  hence  it  was 
inferred  that  rest  is  the  natural  condition  of  things. 
We  make,  then,  a  very  great  advance  when  we 
comprehend  that  a  body  is  equally  indifferent  to 
motion  as  to  rest,  and  that  it  equally  perseveres  in 
either  state  until  disturbing  forces  are  applied. 
Such  forces  in  the  case  of  ordinary  terrestrial 
movements  are  friction  and  the  resistance  of  the 
air ;  but  where  no  such  impediments  exist,  move- 
ment must  be  perpetual,  as  is  the  case  with  the 
heavenly  bodies  which  are  moving  in  a  void,  or 
something  approaching  it. 

The  second  law — that  every  change  of  motion  is 
in  proportion  to  the  force  that  makes  the  change, 

368  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

and  in  the  direction  of  that  straight  line  in  which 
the  disturbing  force  is  impressed — is  involved  in  his 
theory  of  projectiles.  Before  Galileo's  time  it  was 
a  commonly  received  axiom  that  a  body  could  not 
be  affected  by  more  than  one  force  at  a  time,  and  it 
was  therefore  supposed  that  a  cannon-ball,  or  other 
projectile,  moves  forward  in  a  straight  line  until  the 
force  which  impelled  it  is  exhausted,  when  it  falls 
vertically  to  the  ground.  Galileo's  writings  in  the 
fourth  Dialogue  and  elsewhere  show  the  fallacy  of 
this  axiom,  since  he  demonstrates  that  the  path  of 
the  projectile,  being  the  result  of  a  combination  of  a 
uniform  transverse  motion  and  a  uniformly  acceler- 
ated vertical  motion,  must,  apart  from  the  resistance 
of  the  air,  be  a  parabola.1  The  establishment  of 
this  principle  of  the  composition  of  forces  supplied  a 
conclusive  answer  to  the  most  formidable  of  the 
arguments  against  the  rotation  of  the  earth,  and, 
accordingly,  we  find  it  triumphantly  brought  forward 
by  Galileo  in  the  second  "  Day  "  of  his  Dialogues  of 

The  distinction  between  mass  and  weight  was, 
however,  not  noticed,  and,  consequently,  he  failed  to 
grasp  that  acceleration,  which  in  the  case  of  motion 
under  gravity  he  so  closely  examined,  might  be 
made  a  means  of  measuring  the  magnitude  of  the 
force  producing  the  motion.  How  far  he  was  from 
this  discovery  may  be  gathered  from  a  remark  by 
Salviati  incidental  to  the  main  argument,  to  the 
effect  that  when  different  bodies  are  falling  freely 

1  In  a  vacuum  it  would  be  an  ellipse.  In  fact,  a  projectile  is  a 
minute  satellite  of  the  earth,  and  in  vacua  it  would  accurately  obey  all 
Kepler's  laws. 

1636]         LAWS     OF    EQUILIBRIUM          369 

towards  the  earth's  centre,  "the  difference  of  their 
gravities  has  nothing  to  do  with  their  velocities." 
Correct  as  this  may  be  in  the  spirit  in  which  it  was 
meant,  it  shows  that  Galileo  was  yet  far  from 
anticipating  in  all  its  generality  Newton's  second 

Of  the  third  of  the  laws  of  motion — when  a  body 
exerts  force  on  another,  that  other  reacts  with  equal 
force ;  action  and  reaction  are  always  equal  and  in 
opposite  directions — we  find  traces  in  many  of 
Galileo's  researches,  as  in  his  theory  of  the  inclined 
plane,  and  in  his  definition  of  momentum.  It  is 
also  adumbrated  in  his  "  Delia  Scienza  Meccanica" 
(1594),  and  in  his  latest  ideas  on  percussion,  which 
he  was  dictating  to  his  disciples,  Viviani  and 
Torricelli,  when  seized  with  his  last  and  fatal 
illness.  But  that  he  was  familiar  with  the 
relation  between  the  blow  on  one  body  and  the 
reacting  blow  on  the  other  or  striking  body  cannot 
be  maintained.  There  is  no  precise  statement  to 
justify  such  a  supposition.  Indeed,  Galileo's  ideas 
of  force,  as  they  have  come  down  to  us,  are  so 
vague  that  a  statement,  at  the  same  time  precise 
and  general,  cannot  be  expected. 

Galileo's  services  were  hardly  less  conspicuous 
in  the  statical  than  in  the  dynamical  division  of 
mechanics.  He  gave  the  first  direct  and  entirely 
satisfactory  demonstration  of  equilibrium  on  an  in- 
clined plane.  In  order  to  demonstrate  this  he 
imagined  the  weight  and  the  sustaining  power  to  be 
applied  to  the  ends  of  a  bent  lever  whose  arms 
were  of  equal  length  and  perpendicular  to  the 
vertical  and  slant  sides  of  the  plane ;  then  reducing 

2  A 

370  THE    NEW    SCIENCES  [1634- 

the  lever  to  a  straight  one,  between  the  lines  of 
direction  of  the  weight  and  power,  it  was  easy  to 
prove  that  the  forces  in  equilibria  on  the  plane  were 
also  in  equilibria  on  the  lever,  and  were  to  one 
another  as  the  length  to  the  height  of  the  plane. 

By  establishing  the  theory  of  "  virtual  velo- 
cities/' he  laid  down  the  fundamental  principle 
which  in  the  opinion  of  Lagrange  contains  the 
general  expression  of  the  laws  of  equilibrium.  And 
as  regards  that  still  obscure  subject,  molecular 
cohesion,  he  brought  it  for  the  first  time  within  the 
range  of  mechanical  theory. 

As  we  have  quoted  Professor  Playfair's  apprecia- 
tion of  the  Dialogues  of  1632,  to  make  up  for 
the  shortcomings  of  our  own  rhumt,  so  with  these 
still  more  admirable  ones  of  1638,  we  conclude  with 
an  extract  which  indicates  the  enduring  value 
of  Galileo's  work  in  mechanics.  Robert  Grant, 
the  distinguished  astronomer,  and  author  of  the 
"  History  of  Physical  Astronomy/'  says  : — 

"  The  astronomical  discoveries  of  Galileo, 
although  remarkable  for  their  brilliancy,  derive  their 
chief  value  from  the  support  they  lent  to  the 
Copernican  theory,  and  the  influence  they  exerted 
in  overthrowing  the  false  system  of  philosophy 
which  then  prevailed.  But  it  is  in  his  important 
researches  relative  to  mechanical  science  that  the 
genius  of  this  great  philosopher  is  most  apparent. 
The  science  of  motion  could  not,  indeed,  be  said  to 
have  existed  before  his  time,  for  the  sole  knowledge 
on  this  subject  consisted  of  a  few  unintelligible 
maxims  scattered,  through  the  works  of  Aristotle. 
It  required  no  common  degree  of  penetration  to 
expose  the  errors  which  lurked  amid  the  sophisms 
of  the  illustrious  Stagirite ;  but  a  genius  of  a  higher 

1636]         VALUE    OF    THE    WORK          371 

order  still  was  necessary  to  establish  the  clear  and 
immutable  laws  of  nature,  in  the  room  of  the  un- 
meaning subtleties  of  the  schools,  The  sagacity 
and  skill  which  Galileo  displays  in  resolving  the 
phenomena  of  motion  into  their  constituent 
elements,  and  hence  deriving  the  original  principles 
involved  in  them,  will  ever  assure  to  him  a  dis- 
tinguished place  among  those  who  have  extended 
the  domains  of  science.  It  is,  perhaps,  impossible, 
in  the  present  advanced  state  of  mechanical  philo- 
sophy, to  form  a  just  estimate  of  the  difficulties 
which  then  interposed  towards  a  precise  and 
luminous  view  of  the  fundamental  principles  of 
motion.  It  is  universally  admitted  that  those 
phenomena  which  come  under  the  daily  observa- 
tion of  mankind,  and  which,  on  that  account,  do 
not  possess  any  salient  features  on  which  the 
imagination  can  repose,  are  generally  those  which 
are  most  liable  to  elude  the  enquiries  of  ordinary 
minds.  The  principles  which  Galileo  established 
by  his  sagacious  researches  had  the  effect  of  ele- 
vating mechanical  science  to  the  dignity  of  one 
of  the  most  important  subjects  which  can  concern 
the  attention  of  mankind.  They  were  essential 
elements  in  the  train  of  investigation  which  con- 
ducted Newton  to  the  sublime  discovery  of 
Universal  Gravitation ;  and,  in  fact,  they  con- 
stitute the  basis  upon  which  the  vast  super- 
structure of  the  physico-mathematical  sciences  has 
been  reared."  (Introduction,  p.  n.)1 

1  Montucla  ("Histoire  des  Math&natiques,"  Paris,  1758,  vol.  ii. 
p.  191)  says :  "  I  dare  to  assert  that  if  any  one  merits  the  name  of 
precursor  to  Newton  it  is  Galileo  and  not  Descartes."  See  also 
Professor  Jack's  lecture  on  "  Galileo  and  the  Application  of  Mathe- 
matics to  Physics,"  "  Nature,"  vol  xxi.  pp.  40, 58. 




AFTER  completing  his  "  Dialogues  on  the  Two 
New  Sciences"  (summer  1636),  Galileo  resumed 
his  plan  for  determining  longitudes  by  means 
of  Jupiter's  satellites,  of  which  we  have  already 
said  something  in  our  Chapter  VI I L  The 
negotiations  there  described  were  resumed  in 
1620,  and  after  dragging  on  spasmodically  were 
finally  given  up  in  1632.  Now  (August  1636), 
hearing  that  the  Dutch  merchants  had  offered 
a  prize  of  30,000  scudi  to  the  inventor  of  a 
sure  method  of  taking  longitudes  at  sea,  Galileo 
offered  his  plan  to  the  States-General,  his 
friend  Diodati  of  Paris  being  the  go-between, 
as  he  wished  to  keep  the  matter  from  the 
knowledge  of  the  Inquisition  officials. 

As  far  back  as  1612,  Galileo  had  drawn 
up  tables  showing  in  advance  the  position  of 
the  satellites  for  several  months,  and  these  had 
been  found  to  agree  fairly  well  with  subsequent 
observations  of  their  actual  positions.  Since 
that  time,  amidst  all  his  other  employments, 

1636-1641]       LONGITUDE     METHOD  373 

he  had  for  twenty-four  years  steadily  continued 
his  observations,  with  the  object  of  bringing 
his  tables  to  as  high  a  state  of  accuracy  as 
possible.  This  was  the  point  to  which  the 
enquiries  of  the  States,  in  accepting  Galileo's 
offer,  were  chiefly  directed.  On  nth  November 
1636,  the  States  appointed  four  Commissioners 
to  communicate  with  him,  and  to  report  upon 
the  various  points  on  which  they  required  in- 
formation. They  voted  him  a  golden  chain  as 
a  mark  of  their  respect,  and  assured  him  that 
in  case  his  plan  proved  successful  he  should  have 
no  cause  to  complain  of  their  generosity.  A 
long  correspondence  ensued,  in  the  course  of 
which  Galileo  entered  into  minute  details  with 
regard  to  the  devices  by  which  he  proposed 
to  obviate  the  practical  difficulties  attending  his 

After  much  delay,  caused  partly  by  the  secret 
and  roundabout  way  in  which  the  corre- 
spondence had  to  be  carried  on,  and  partly  by 
Galileo's  gradual  failure  of  sight,  Hortensius,  one 
of  the  commission,  was  deputed  to  set  out  for 
Italy,  in  July  1638,  to  confer  with  Galileo  in 
person ;  but  the  journey  was  put  off  at  the  last 
moment,  as  the  following  extract  explains.  We 
quote  from  a  letter  of  Galileo  to  Diodati,  dated 
1 4th  August  1638  : — 

"As   ill-luck  would  have  it,   the   Holy  Office 

came    to    know    of    my    negotiations     with     the 

States-General,   which    may   do   me   great   injury. 

I  am,  therefore,  obliged  to  you  for  having  induced 

1  See  his  letter  to  Lorenzo  Realio,  dated  6th  June  1637. 

374  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

Signor  Hortensius  to  give  up  his  intended 
journey,  and  thereby  averted  some  calamity  to 

Soon  after  this,  the  brothers  Ebers,  Dutch 
merchants  trading  in  Florence,  were  com- 
missioned to  deliver  the  golden  chain  and  a 
letter  from  the  States.  On  arriving  at  the 
house  in  Via  della  Costa  where  Galileo  was 
staying  (as  will  presently  be  explained),  they 
found  the  old  man  in  bed,  ailing,  and  totally 
blind!  He  asked  them  to  read  the  letter  aloud, 
and  to  give  him  the  box  containing  the  chain. 
Taking  it  in  his  hands,  he  in  a  few  measured 
words  expressed  his  thanks  to  them  for  their 
courtesy,  and  to  the  States  for  the  signal  mark 
of  honour  they  had  shown  him.  The  box  and 
the  letter  he  would  keep,  but  the  chain  he 
begged  them  to  take  back,  as  he  did  not  think 
it  proper  to  retain  it,  seeing  that,  owing  to  his 
blindness  and  increasing  infirmities,  the  negotia- 
tions must  be  postponed.  Seeing,  however,  in 
the  action  of  the  States- General  a  proof  of 
their  desire  to  adopt  his  method,  Galileo  re- 
solved to  place  all  the  papers  containing  his 
observations  and  calculations  in  the  hands  of 
Father  Renieri,  a  former  pupil  and  then  professor 
of  mathematics  at  Pisa,  who  was  to  finish  and 
revise  them,  and  then  forward  them  to  Holland. 
Before  this  was  done  a  new  delay  was  occasioned 
by  the  deaths  in  quick  succession  of  every  one 
of  the  four  commissioners,  Hortensius,  the  last, 
dying  in  April  1639.  For  two  or  three  years 
the  negotiations  were  entirely  interrupted,  and 

1641]  MOON'S    LIBRATIONS  375 

were  then  renewed  by  Constantine  Huygens, 
but  very  ,soon  after,  Galileo  himself  died,  and 
again  the  business  was  interrupted.  To  complete 
the  singular  series  of  misfortunes  by  which  the 
trial  of  this  method  was  impeded,  just  as  Renieri, 
by  order  of  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany,  was 
about  to  publish  the  Ephemerides,  he  also  was 
attacked  with  a  mortal  malady,  and  after  his 
death  the  MSS.  were  nowhere  to  be  found! 
For  two  hundred  years  they  were  supposed  to 
be  lost,  but  sixty  years  ago  they  were  discovered 
amongst  the  Galilean  Papers  by  Alberi,  and 
may  now  be  consulted  in  the  fifth  volume  of 
his  edition  of  Galileo's  Works.1 

Just  before  his  sight  began  to  fail,  Galileo 
made  his  last  astronomical  discovery,  which  is 
now  known  as  the  moon's  libration.  A  remark- 
able circumstance  connected  with  the  moon's 
motion  is  that  the  same  hemisphere  is  always 
visible  from  the  earth,  showing  that  she  turns 
once  on  her  axis  in  exactly  the  time  of  her 
monthly  revolution  round  the  earth.  Now, 
Galileo  who,  if  we  may  say  so,  was  quite  at 
home  in  the  moon,  and  was  familiar  with  the 
whole  of  her  visible  surface,  observed  that  small 
fringes  of  her  other  side  come  alternately  into 
view  and  again  recede,  according  to  her  position 
in  the  heavens. 

This    discovery    was    announced    in    a    letter 

1  Renieri  died  in  November  1647,  when  the  longitude  papers  are 
supposed  to  have  been  stolen  by  one  Giuseppe  Agostini ;  but  see 
Favard's  doubts  on  this  subject'  in  his  "Documenti  Inediti  per  la 
Storia  dei  MSS.  Galiletani,"  Rome,  1886,  pp.  8-14. 

376  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

of  7th   November    1637,  to    Micanzio,  Venice,  as 
follows  : l — 

"I  see  that  you  suppose  I  have  not  given  up 
speculating.  It  is  true  I  do  go  on  speculating,  but 
to  the  great  prejudice  of  my  health ;  for  thinking, 
joined  to  various  other  molestations,  destroys  my 
sleep  and  increases  the  melancholy  of  my  nights  ; 
while  the  pleasure  which  I  have  taken  hitherto  in 
making  observations  on  new  phenomena  is  almost 
entirely  gone. 

"  I  have  observed  a  most  marvellous  appearance 
on  the  surface  of  the  moon.  Though  she  has  been 
looked  at  such  millions  of  times  by  such  millions 
of  men,  I  do  not  find  that  any  have  observed 
the  slightest  alteration  in  her  surface ;  but  that 
exactly  the  same  side  has  always  been  supposed 
to  be  presented  to  our  eyes.  Now  I  find  that 
such  is  not  the  case,  but  that  she  changes  her 
aspect,  as  one  who,  having  his  full  face  turned 
towards  us,  should  move  it  sideways,  first  to  the 
right  and  then  to  the  left ;  or  should  raise  or  then 
lower  it ;  or,  lastly,  should  incline  it  first  to  the  right 
shoulder  then  to  the  left.  All  these  changes  I  see  in 
the  moon ;  and  the  large  anciently-known  spots  which 
are  seen  on  her  face  will  help  to  make  evident 
the  truth  of  what  I  say.  Add  to  these  a  further 
marvel,  which  is  that  these  three  mutations  have 
their  several  periods — the  first  daily,  the  second 
monthly,  the  third  yearly.  Now  what  connection 
does  your  Reverence  think  these  three  lunar  periods 
may  have  with  the  daily,  monthly,  and  yearly  move- 
ments of  the  sea  ?  which  by  the  common  consent  of 
all  philosophers  are  ruled  over  by  the  moon."2 

Galileo  was  not  long  in  detecting  one  of  the 

1  See  also  his  letter  to  Alfonso  Antonini  with   the  significant 
address  "Dalla  mio  carcere  di  Arcetri,  li  20  Febbraio  1637"  (ab 
incarnatione— 1638). 

2  Compare  pp.  171  and  259  on  this  subject  of  the  tides. 

i64i]  MOON'S     ITERATIONS  377 

causes  of  this  apparent  libratory  or  rocking  move- 
ment. The  diurnal  or  parallactic  libration  he  saw 
was  occasioned  by  our  distance  as  spectators  from 
the  centre  of  the  earth,  which  is  also  the  centre 
of  the  moon's  revolution.  In  consequence  of 
this,  as  the  moon  rises  we  get  an  additional 
view  of  the  lower  part  and  lose  sight  of  the 
extra  portion  of  the  upper  part  which  was  visible 
while  we  were  looking  down  upon  her  when 
low  in  the  horizon.  The  causes  of  the  other 
motions  noticed  by  Galileo  are  not  so  easily  ex- 
plained without  a  reference  to  mathematics.  Nor 
is  it  certain  that  Galileo  himself  understood  them  ; 
his  conjecture  of  a  connection  with  the  tides  is 
certainly  wide  of  the  mark. 

The  moon  in  revolving  round  the  earth  spins 
once  on  her  axis  in  the  time  occupied  by  a  revolu- 
tion ;  so  turning,  as  is  well  known,  the  same  side 
always  towards  the  earth's  centre.  But  this  familiar 
truth  is  only  approximate.  The  speed  of  rotation 
is  uniform ;  but  the  speed  of  motion  in  the  orbit  is 
not  so,  because  that  orbit  is  riot  a  circle  but  more 
truly  an  ellipse,  in  which  (as  is  always  the  case 
with  elliptic  motion)  the  moving  body  travels  faster 
while  near  the  centre  of  attraction  than  when  farther 
away.  The  result  is  that  we  see  alternately  a  little 
round  the  eastern  edge,  and  a  fortnight  later  a  little 
round  the  western.  Combined  with  this  libration  in 
longitude  is  a  libration  in  latitude  due  to  the  fact 
that  the  moon's  axis  of  rotation  is  not  exactly  per- 
pendicular to  the  plane  of  its  orbital  motion,  leaning 
a  little  towards  us  at  one  time,  and  a  little  away 
from  us  at  the  end  of  a  fortnight.  This  enables  us 

378  GALILEO     AT     ARCETRI          [1636- 

to  see  at  times  a  few  hundred  miles  beyond  the 
North  Pole,  and  at  other  times  a  similar  extent 
beyond  the  South  Pole. 

These  two  librations,  though  (as  explained)  due 
to  independent  causes,  have  approximately  the  same 
period — about  one  month.  Their  effects,  however, 
vary  according  to  the  changing  position  of  the  earth 
in  its  orbit;  and  any  particular  phase  of  the 
libration  is  more  nearly  reproduced  after  twelve 
months  than  after  one.  Galileo  was,  there- 
fore, justified  in  suggesting  an  annual  period, 
although  it  is  not  customary  at  the  present  day 
to  associate  the  annual  period  with  any  very 
distinct  libration. 

The  complaint  in  his  eyes,  which  began  to  be 
troublesome  towards  the  middle  of  1636,  steadily 
grew  worse  for  some  months.  By  the  end  of  June 
1637,  the  sight  of  the  right  eye  was  gone,  and  that 
of  the  other  was  dimmed  by  a  constant  discharge. 
"  I  have  been  in  bed  for  five  weeks,"  he  wrote  to 
Diodati  on  4th  July,  "oppressed  with  weakness 'and 
other  infirmities  from  which  my  age  (seventy-four 
years)  forbids  me  to  hope  for  release.  Added  to  this 
(proh  dolor  ! )  the  sight  of  my  right  eye — that  eye 
whose  labours  (I  dare  to  say  it)  have  had  such 
glorious  results,  is  lost  for  ever.  That  of  the  left 
'which  was  and  is  imperfect  is  rendered  null  by  a  coil- 
tinual  running."  But  in  spite  of  this  affliction  and 
his  other  sufferings  (moral  and  physical)  his  interest 
in  all  things  scientific  was  still  unflagging.  We  find 
him  carrying  on  an  extensive  correspondence  with 
learned  men  in  Germany,  France,  and  Italy;  con- 
tinuing the  negotiations  with  the  States-General 

i64i]       GALILEO  TOTALLY  BLIND        379 

about   his   longitude   method;    and   filling   up    his 
leisure  with  astronomy  and  physics. 

Early  in  December  1637  Galileo  became  totally 
blind.  "The  noblest  eye  is  darkened,"  wrote 
Castelli,  "which  nature  ever  made — an  eye  so 
privileged  and  so  gifted  with  rare  qualities  that  it 
may  with  truth  be  said  to  have  seen  more  than  the 
eyes  of  all  who  are  gone,  and  to  have  opened  the 
eyes  of  all  who  are  to  come."  His  patience  and 
resignation  under  this  terrible  calamity  are  truly 
wonderful ;  and  if  occasionally  a  word  of  complaint 
escapes  him  it  is  in  the  chastened  tone  of  the 
following  words,  written  to  Diodati  on  2nd  January 
1638  :— 

"  Alas  !  revered  Sir,  Galileo,  your  devoted  friend 
and  servant,  has  been  for  a  month  totally  and 
incurably  blind,  so  that  this  heaven,  this  earth,  this 
universe,  which,  by  my  remarkable  observations  and 
clear  demonstrations,  I  have,  enlarged  a  hundred, 
nay,  a  thousandfold  bey'ond  the  limits  universally 
accepted  by  the  learned  men  of  all  previous  ages, 
are  now  shrivelled  up  for  me  into  that  narrow 
compass  which  is  occupied  by  my  own  person. " 

Hopes  were  entertained  for  a  time  that  the 
blindness  was  occasioned  by  cataracts,  and  that  he 
might  hope  for  some  relief  from  the  operation  of 
couching;  but  it  soon  became  manifest  that  the 
disorder  was  not  in  the  humours  of  the  eye,  but  in  a 
cloudiness  of  the  cornea,  which  all  remedies  failed  to 

Ever  since  his  return  to  Arcetri  from  Siena, 
Galileo's  friends  in  Rome  lost  no  opportunity  of 
interceding  for  him  with  the  Pope,  with  a  view  to 

380  GALILEO     AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

his  complete  liberty  from  the  galling  restraints  of 
the  Holy  Office.  Besides  the  ever  faithful  Castelli 
and  Niccolini,  M,  de  Peiresc  and  Comte  de  Noailles, 
as  we  have  seen  (p.  345),  took  up  his  case  in  the 
warmest  manner,  and  several  times  either  them- 
selves, or  through  the  Pope's  relatives,  brought  the 
matter  before  his  Holiness  in  an  urgent  way. 
"They  endeavoured/'  wrote  Galileo  to  Micanzio  on 
I2th  July  1636,  "to  convince  his  Holiness  that  I 
never  had  such  an  iniquitous  thought  as  to  make 
game  of  him,  as  my  wretched  enemies  had  per- 
suaded him,  which  was  the  prime  motor  of  all  my 
troubles.  At  length,  the  Holy  Father  pronounced 
my  exculpation  saying  :  c  We  believe  it,  we  believe  it 
now/  but  he  added,  all  the  same,  that  the  reading  of 
my  Dialogues  was  most  pernicious  to  Christianity." 

In  these  negotiations  the  Cardinals  Antonio 
and  Francesco  Barberini  nobly  seconded  the  efforts 
of  Galileo's  other  friends.  Indeed,  if  the  Pope  had 
meant  more  than  fair  speeches,  there  can  be  little 
doubt  that  the  whole  Congregation  of  Cardinals 
would  have  been  ready  to  agree  to  Galileo's  entire 
liberation — another  proof,  if  one  be  wanted,  of  the 
vindictiveness  of  Urban  personally, 

At  the  end  of  September  1636,  Galileo  was 
allowed  to  visit  the  Grand  Duke  at  his  Villa 
Mezaomonte,  outside  Florence,  going  from  Arcetri 
in  a  closed  carriage  in  the  early  morning  and 
returning  late  at  night,  so  that  he  should  not  be 
seen  on  the  way.  Again,  on  i6th  October,  in  the 
same  year,  he  was  allowed  to  go  to  Poggibonsi l  to 

1  Poggibonsi  was  the  meeting-place  of  another  famous  Florentine 
with  another  famous  Frenchman.     It  was  there,  in  June  1495, 

i64i]  HARSH    TREATMENT  381 

meet  the  Comte  de  Noailles  on  his  way  back  to 
France.  This  was  the  extent  of  the  Papal 
clemency  for  many  months. 

But  now,  on  hearing  of  his  blindness  and  many 
infirmities,  the  Pope  seemed  to  have  relented  a 
little  his  savage  treatment  of  the  poor  old  man. 
Father  Castelli  was  given  to  understand  that  a 
suitable  petition  would  now  be  entertained,  and 
on  Qth  January  1638,  he  sent  a  draft  one  which 
Galileo  was  to  copy  and  return,  with  a  medical 
certificate,  direct  to  the  Assessor  of  the  Holy  Office 
in  Rome.  This  was  done  at  once,  but  it  was  not 
enough.  The  local  Inquisitor  in  Florence  was 
instructed  to  see  Galileo  and  make  an  exact  report 
as  to  his  health,  and  as  to  the  likelihood,  if  he 
lived  in  Florence,  of  his  promoting  or  encourag- 
ing there  the  propagation  of  his  errors.  The 
Inquisitor,  Father  Fanano,  reported  as  follows, 
on  1 3th  February  1638,  to  Cardinal  Francesco 
Barberini : — 

"  In  order  the  better  to  execute  his  Holiness's 
commands  I  went  myself,  accompanied  by  a  strange 
physician,  to  see  Galileo  quite  unexpectedly.  My 
idea  was  not  so  much  to  put  myself  in  a  position  to 
report  on  the  nature  of  his  ailments  as  to  gain  an 
insight  into  the  studies  and  occupations  he  is 
carrying  on,  that  I  might  be  able  to  judge 
whether  he  was  in  a  condition,  if  he  returned  to 
Florence,  to  propagate  the  condemned  doctrine 
of  the  double  motion  of  the  earth.  I  found  him 
entirely  blind.  He  hopes  for  a  cure,  as  the  cataract 
only  formed  six  months  ago ;  but  at  his  age,  of  over 

Savonarola  met  King  Charles  VIII.  of  France  on  his  skedaddle  from 
Naples,  and  by  prophetic  denunciations  kept  him  from  looting 

382  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

seventy  [74]  the  physician  considers  it  incurable. 
He  has  besides  a  severe  rupture,  and  suffers  from 
continual  weariness  of  life  and  sleeplessness  which, 
as  he  asserts  (and  it  is  confirmed  by  the  inmates  of 
his  house),  does  not  permit  him  one  hour's  sound 
sleep  in  the  twenty-four.  He  is  besides  so  reduced 
that  he  looks  more  like  a  corpse  than  a  living  man. 
The  villa  is  a  long  way  from  the  city,  and  the 
access  is  inconvenient,  so  that  he  can  but  seldom 
and  with  much  inconvenience  and  expense  have 
medical  aid.  His  studies  are  interrupted  by  his 
blindness,  though  he  is  read  to  sometimes  ;  and 
intercourse  with  him  is  not  much  sought,  as  in  his 
poor  state  of  health  he  can  only  complain  of  his 
sufferings  and  talk  of  his  ailments  to  occasional 
visitors.  I  think,  therefore,  in  consideration  of 
this,  if  his  Holiness  in  his  boundless  mercy  should 
think  him  worthy  and  would  allow  him  to  live  in 
Florence,  he  would  have  no  opportunity  of  holding 
meetings,  and  if  he  had  he  is  so  prostrated  that 
I  think  it  would  suffice  (in  order  to  make  quite  sure) 
to  keep  him  in  check  by  an-emphatic  warning." 

This  report  at  last  seems  to  have  softened  the 
Papal  heart,  but  only  a  little  bit.  A  -partial  relief 
was  decided  on  at  a  sitting  of  the  Congregation  on 
26th  February,  under  the  presidency  of  the  Pope, 
a  full  release  to  this  man  "more  like  a  corpse/' 
appearing  too  dangerous  to  be  ventured  on !  On 
9th  March,  Galileo  was  allowed  to  enter  Florence 
and  occupy  his  son's  little  house,  No.  u  Via 
della  Costa,  near  the  gate  San  Giorgio.  Here 
the  Inquisitor  called  and  informed  him,  "for  his 
advantage/'  of  the  orders  of  the  Holy  Office — not 
to  go  out  in  the  city,  under  pain  of  actual  imprison- 
ment for  life  and  excommunication;  not  to  speak 

1641]  MAKES     HIS    WILL  383 

with  any  one  whomsoever  of  the  condemned 
doctrines ;  and  not  to  receive  any  suspicious 
visitors.  It  is  characteristic  of  the  ways  of  the 
Inquisition  that  Fanano  set  Galileo's  own  son  to 
watch  over  his  movements.  The  Inquisitor 
enjoined  upon  Vincenzio  to  see  that  his  orders 
were  obeyed,  and,  especially,  to  see  that  his 
father's  visitors  did  not  stay  too  long.  In  his 
report  to  Rome  of  loth  March  he  remarks  that 
Vincenzio  can  be  trusted,  "for  he  is  greatly 
obliged  for  the  favour  granted  to  his  father  to  be 
medically  treated  in  Florence,  and  fears  that  the 
least  offence  might  entail  the  loss  of  it.  Besides, 
it  is  very  much  to  his  own  interest  that  his  father 
should  behave  properly,  and  keep  up  as  long  as 
possible,  for  with  his  death  a  1000  scudi  will  go, 
which  the  Grand  Duke  allows  him  annually." 

Galileo's  confinement  in  Florence  was  so 
rigorous  that  at  Easter  a  special  permission  from 
Rome  was  required  to  go  to  the  little  Church  of 
San  Giorgio,  one  hundred  yards  down  his  street,  to 
perform  his  Easter  devotions,  and  even  this  per- 
mission only  extended  to  Thursday,  Good  Friday, 
Saturday,  and  Easter  Sunday.  On  the  other  hand, 
it  would  seem  that  he  was  allowed  during  June, 
July,  and  August,  to  go  to  and  fro  between  his 
house  in  Via  della  Costa  and  his  villa  at  Arcetri. 

During  the  summer  of  1638,  Galileo  gradually 
sank  so  low  that  he  and  every  one  about  him 
thought  that  his  last  hour  was  approaching.  In 
this  belief  he  dictated  his  will  on  2ist  August,  and 
directed  that  he  should  be  buried  in  the  family 
vault  of  the  Galilei  in  the  Church  of  Santa  Croce, 

384  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

Florence.  To  his  daughter  -Sister  Arcangela  (who 
survived  him  seventeen  years)  he  left  an  annuity  of 
25  crowns;  to  his  nephews  Vincenzio,  Alberto, 
and  Cosimo  Galilei,1  he  bequeathed  1000  crowns, 
which,  however,  he  revoked  in  a  codicil  added  a 
few  months  later  (igth  November).  He  willed 
that  any  of  his  descendants  who  might  enter  a 
religious  Order  were  to  be  by  such  act  deprived  of 
the  enjoyment  of  any  of  his  property  that  might 
come  to  them.  His  son  Vincenzio  was  to  have  the 
rest,  and,  in  the  event  of  his  death  during  the 
minority  of  his  three  children,  their  mother  Sestilia, 
n£e  Bocchineri,  was  to  be  guardian  jointly  with  his 
faithful  disciple  Mario  Guiducci. 

Early  in  September  the  Grand  Duke  paid  his 
sick  Philosopher  and  Mathematician  a  visit  of  two 
hours'  duration,  and  helped  to  prepare  his  medicines. 
These  kindly  visits  were  repeated  more  than  once 
either  by  the  Sovereign  himself,  who  used  to  say, 
"  I  do  so  because  I  have  only  one  Galileo/'  or  by 
some  member  of  the  Medici  family.2 

1  At  this  time  Alberto,  "il  Grazioso  Albertino,"  as  Maria  Celeste 
always  called  him,  was  staying  with  his  uncle  on  a  long  visit     Of 
Michelangelo's  large  family  but  three  sons  now  remained,  Vincenzio, 
who  was  teacher  of  music  and  singing  to  some  Polish  prince,  Alberto, 
lute  and  violin  player  in  the  service  of  the  Duke  of  Bavaria,  and  a 
younger  boy,  Cosimo,  whom  Alberto  was  maintaining.     The  wife, 
a  son,  and  three  daughters,  all  are  supposed  to  have  perished  in  the 
sack  and  burning  of  Munich  a  few  years  before  (1634), 

2  These  visits  are  recorded  on  a  white  marble  slab  over  the  entrance 
door  as  follows  : — 

Qui  ove  abito  Galileo 

Non  sdegn6  Piegarsi  alia  Potenza  del  Genio 
La  Maesta  di  Ferdinando  II. 

Dei  Medici 

In  the  little  garden  at  the  back  of  the  house  is  an  old  sundial,  said  to 
be  the  work  of  Galileo. 


f  *  '  " 

V,'  /  ,4,    /„-,//,  ,/C"    //        7"/   ''   ^"V"      "    •    tfUtt 

\\     .tfvwfyw  M/f»/f>  ,/ttm/f  ilt  .  /,    l(  >  '* >}t  fa  Mm  '  fft  </>  •    htwrt/.  >b  Jwwfr  ,t't,t,'tt\  ,/'/i',f 

' ,  *«v« v  /y .a  '*«*,  ^  tf. «,-  j  s  *  *  '  '-v*  'f~~i" '  '•  /P '"        '    " 

Portrait  of  Galileo,  aged  about  75. 

[TV  face  J,  384- 

i64i]         THOUGHT    TO    BE    DYING          383 

It  had  been  for  a  long  time  Galileo's  wish  to 
have  with  him  in  the  evening  of  his  life  his 
favourite  disciple  and  lifelong  friend  Father 
Castelli,  and  as  it  was  now  supposed  that  his 
days  were  few,  the  Grand  Duke  sent  the  following 
instructions  to  his  Ambassador  in  Rome,  in  a 
despatch  from  Cioli,  on  gth  September  1638  : — 

"  Signor  Galileo,  from  his  great  age  and  the 
illnesses  which  afflict  him,  is  in  a  condition  soon 
to  go  to  the  other  world ;  and  although  in  this 
the  eternal  memory  of  his  fame  is  already 
secured,  yet  his  Highness  is  greatly  desirous 
that  the  world  should  sustain  as  little  loss  as 
possible  by  his  death,  and  that  his  labours  may 
not  perish,  but,  for  the  public  good,  may  be 
brought  to  that  perfection  which  he  will  not 
now  be  able  to  give  them.  He  has  in  his 
thoughts  many  things  worthy  of  him  which  he 
cannot  be  prevailed  on  to  communicate  to  any 
but  Father  Benedetto  Castelli  in  whom  he  has 
entire  confidence.  His  Highness  wishes,  there- 
fore, that  you  should  see  Castelli,  and  induce 
him  to  procure  leave  to  come  to  Florence  for 
a  few  months  for  this  purpose,  which  his 
Highness  has  very  much  at  heart  And  if  he 
obtains  permission,  as  his  Highness  hopes,  you 
will  furnish  him  with  money  and  everything  he 
may  require  for  his  journey." 

Niccolini  replied  that  Castelli  had  been  himself 
to  the  Pope  with  this  object ;  that  his  Holiness, 
suspecting  his  design  was  to  see  Galileo,  taxed  him 
with  it ;  and  upon  Castelli  stating  that  certainly  he 
could  not  go  to  Florence  without  attempting  to  see 
him,  he  received  permission  to  visit  him,  but  only 
in  the  company  of  an  officer  of  the  Inquisition. 

2  B 

386  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

Early  in  October  Castelli  reached  Florence,  and 
was  at  once  permitted  to  visit  his  old  master, 
but  was  expressly  prohibited  under  pain  of  ex- 
communication to  converse  with  him  on  the 
condemned  doctrines.  Finding,  as  he  did  very 
soon,  that  the  local  officials  of  the  Holy  Office 
were  inclined  to  curtail  his  interviews  with 
Galileo,  Castelli  wrote  repeatedly  to  Rome  to 
obtain  greater  liberty.  He  protests  in  these 
letters  that  he  would  rather  lose  his  life  than 
converse  on  subjects  forbidden  by  the  Church, 
and  gives  as  a  reason  for  more  frequent  inter- 
views that  he  had  received  from  the  Grand 
Duke  the  twofold  charge,  to  minister  to  Galileo 
in  spiritual  matters,  and  to  inform  himself  fully 
about  the  Ephemerides  of  the  Medicean  Stars, 
which  Giovan.  Carlo  de  Medici,  Lord  High 
Admiral,  wished  to  take  with  him  to  Spain. 
Early  in  November,  the  necessary  permission 
arrived,  "in  consideration  of  these  circumstances, 
and  under  the  known  conditions/' 

In  January  1639  Galileo's  general  health  was 
said  to  have  so  far  improved  as  to  permit  of 
his  returning  to  Arcetri,  which  he  was  never 
to  leave  again  till  death.  Was  this  move  a 
voluntary  one?  it  may  be  doubted.  In  the  first 
place,  it  is  difficult  to  reconcile  a  voluntary  return 
to  his  villa  with  his  previous  efforts  to  obtain 
permission  to  live  in  Florence.  Then,  there 
are  many  of  his  letters  which  bear  the  expressive 
addresses  "Rusculo  meo"  (i7th  August  1634), 
"Mio  Carcere  di  Arcetri"  (4th  and  i5th  March 
1635,  9th  February  1636,  4th  March  1637,  and 

1641]       "MY  PRISON   AT  ARCETRI"        387 

20th  February  1638),  and  "  Dalla  Villa  Arcetri, 
Mio  continuato  Carcerede  Esilio"  (2Oth  January 
1641).  From  such  considerations  it  is  allowable 
to  conclude  that  Galileo  would  have  little  pleasure 
in  going  back  to  his  "prison,"  and,  therefore, 
that  his  banishment  from  the  city  was  not 
voluntary,  but  the  result  of  orders  from 

Some  time  after  his  return  to  Arcetri,  Galileo 
would  appear  to  have  solicited  some  favour 
from  Rome  which  was  inexorably  refused.  After 
this  he  came  no  more  into  direct  contact  with 
the  Roman  authorities,  as  he  now  gave  up  all 
hope  of  any  amelioration  of  his  lot  from  the 
implacable  Pope.  "As  it  pleases  God,  so  also  it 
should  please  us,"  was  the  refrain  of  many  of  his 
letters.  Father  Castelli  also  had  by  this  time 
come  to  the  conclusion  that  nothing  more  could 
be  done  for  his  unfortunate  master,  for  hence- 
forth we  find  nothing  in  his  letters  but  scientific 
disquisitions  and  spiritual  consolations. 

The  rest  of  Galileo's  life  was  spent  at 
Arcetri,  where  indeed,  even  if  granted  full 
liberty,  his  age  and  infirmities  would  probably 
have  detained  him  a  prisoner.  The  rigid  manner 
in  which  the  Holy  Office  had  hitherto  shadowed 

1  The  Pope  was  kept  fully  informed  of  Galileo's  doings  by  the 
local  Inquisitor,  and,  doubtless,  the  publication  of  his  Dialogues  "  in 
a  heretical  country,"  his  negotiations  about  the  longitude,  "with 
heretical  Hollanders,"  and  the  rumoured  offer  of  a  professorship 
in  the  "heretical"  Athenaeum  in  Amsterdam,  were  not  pleasing 
indications  for  his  Holiness.  The  idea,  at  his  advanced  age  and 
with  shattered  health,  of  retiring  to  Holland  shows  how  much 
Galileo  must  have  felt  the  restraints  imposed  upon  him  in  his  own 

388  GALILEO     AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

him  was  now  relaxed,  and    he  was  generally  per- 
mitted  to   see    the    friends    who   came  to  express 
their  respect  and  sympathy.     The  Grand  Duke,  as 
we  have  seen,  or  some  member  of  his  family,  visited 
him  frequently,  and  many  distinguished  strangers, 
such    as    Gassendi   and    Diodati    of    Paris,    came 
into    Italy   solely    for    the    purpose    of    testifying 
their    admiration   of    his    genius.      Amongst    the 
names  of  other  Oltramontani  is  that   of  a  young 
Englishman,    who    was     able    to    give     him    the 
gratifying     information     that     his     Dialogues     of 
1632    were    being    eagerly   read    by   the    learned 
men  in  England.     This  was  John  Milton,  then  in 
his  twenty-ninth  year,  and  already  known  as  a  poet 
of  great  promise.      Milton   left   England   for   the 
Continent  some  time  in  April   1638,  and  reached 
Paris   early   in    May ;    thence    travelling   by   way 
of  Nice,    Genoa,    Leghorn,    and   Pisa,   he   arrived 
in    Florence    early    in    August      Masson,    in    his 
"  Life    of    Milton,"   has   collected    what  little   we 
know   of    this  visit.      The   young    poet   was   en- 
thusiastically   received    by    the    members    of    the 
Accademia  della    Crusca,   and    assisted  at    many 
of   their   reunions.      "  In    the    private    academies 
of  Italy,"   he  says,    "whither    I    was  favoured   to 
resort,    some    trifles    which    I    had    in    memory, 
composed   at    under    twenty  or   thereabouts,    met 
with  acceptance  above  what  was  looked  for;  and 
other  things,  which   I   had  shifted,   in  scarcity   of 
books  and    conveniences,   to    patch  up    amongst 
them,    were     received     with     written    encomiums 
which  the   Italian  is  not    forward    to   bestow  on 
men  of  this  side  the  Alps." 

1641]          MILTON    AND    GALILEO  389 

The  only  specific  reference  by  Milton  to  his 
visits  to  Galileo  occurs  in  the  following  passage 
in  the  "  Areopagitica,"  a  discourse  addressed  to 
the  .Lords  and  Commons  against  the  proposed 
licensing  of  printed  books  : — 

"  I  could  recount  what  I  have  seen  and 
heard  in  other  countries,  where  this  kind  of 
Inquisition  tyrannizes,  when  I  have  sat  among 
their  learned  men  (for  that  honour  I  had)  and 
been  counted  happy  to  be  born  in  such  a  place 
of  philosophic  freedom,  as  they  supposed  England 
was,  while  themselves  did  nothing  but  bemoan 
the  servile  condition  into  which  learning  amongst 
them  was  brought;  that  this  was  it  which  had 
so  dampt  the  glory  of  Italian  wits,  that  nothing 
had  been  written  there  now  these  many  years 
but  flattery  and  fustian.  There  it  was  that  I 
found  and  visited  the  famous  Galileo,  grown  old, 
a  prisoner  to  the  Inquisition  for  thinking  in 
astronomy  otherwise  than  the  Franciscan  and 
Dominican  licensers  thought/' 

Milton  is  said  to  have  first  met  Galileo  some 
time  in  September  1638,  in  which  case  the  meeting 
probably  took  place  in  the  little  house  in  Via  della 
Costa.  The  poet  left  Florence,  via  Siena,  early 
in  October,  for  Rome,  where  he  spent  the  winter, 
paying  a  short  visit  to  Naples.  Early  in  March 
1639,  he  returned  to  Florence,  where,  according 
to  his  own  account,  he  was  received  with  no  less 
eagerness  than  if  the  return  had  been  to  his  native 
country  and  friends  at  home.  On  this  occasion  he 
stayed  two  months,  and  Masson  believes  that  he 
saw  Galileo  again  and,  probably,  more  than  once. 

390  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI         [1636- 

These  meetings  would  certainly  have  taken  place 
at  the  villa  in  Arcetri. 

"  There  unseen 

In  manly  beauty  Milton  stood  before  him 

Gazing  with  reverent  awe — Milton — his  guest. 

Just  come  forth,  all  life  and  enterprise  ; 

He  in  his  old  age  and  extremity, 

Blind,  at  noonday  exploring  with  his  staff ; 

His  eyes  upturned  as  to  the  golden  sun, 

His  eyeballs  idly  rolling.     Little  then 

Did  Galileo  think  whom  he  received ; 

That  in  his  hand  he  held  the  hand  of  one 

Who  could  requite  him— who  would  spread  his  name 

O'er  lands  and  seas — great  as  himself,  nay,  greater ; 

Milton  as  little  that  in  him  he  saw, 

As  in  a  glass,  what  he  himself  should  be, 

Destined  so  soon  to  fall  on  evil  days 

And  evil  tongues — so  soon — alas,  to  live 

In  darkness,  and  with  dangers  compassed  round, 

And  solitude." l 

Another  great  Englishman,  Thomas  Hobbes 
of  Malmsbury,  during  his  travels  abroad,  1634-37, 
spent  some  time  in  Florence,  circa  1635-6,  and 
often  met  his  brother  philosopher  for  whom  he  con- 
ceived and  ever  retained  the  warmest  admiration.2 

The  French  philosopher  Descartes  was,  prob- 
ably, the  only  great  man  who,  finding  himself  in 
Florence,  did  not  honour  himself  by  calling  on 
Galileo.  Arago  tells  us  that  during  his  wanderings 
Descartes  visited  parts  of  Italy  and  returned  to 
France  (1625),  passing  through  the  capital  of 
Tuscany.  He  adds — "One  would  be  astonished 
to  learn  that  he  had  no  wish  to  be  presented  to 

1  Rogers'  Italy  (the  Campagna  of  Florence).    The  meeting  of 
Milton  and  Galileo  is  the  subject  of  a  long  poem  by  Giacomo  Zanella. 
"Versi,"  Florence,  1868. 

2  See  Galileo's  letter  to  Micanzio,  dated  ist  December  1635. 

1641]     LAST  DISCIPLE  OF  GALILEO    391 

Galileo,  did  we  not  know  that  by  an  inexplicable 
aberration  he  was  always  indifferent  to  the  works 
and  admirable  discoveries  of  the  Italian  philo- 
sopher." l  In  the  same  way,  during  his  previous 
peregrinations  in  Germany,  as  a  soldier  of  fortune, 
Descartes  would  not  see  Kepler,  although  he  called 
him  his  master  in  optics. 

During  the  summer  of  1639  Vincenzio  Viviani, 
then  eighteen  years  old,  came  to  live  with  Galileo  and 
remained  with  him  to  the  end,  glorying  in  the  title 
of  "  ultimo  suo  discepolo."  Almost  from  the  first  day 
a  strong  attachment  sprang  up  between  the  two, 
the  old  master  conceiving  a  fatherly  affection  for 
the  talented  youth,  and  the  pupil,  a  love  and  venera- 
tion for  the  master  which  he  preserved  through 
life.  In  his  old  age  when  in  his  turn  he  had 
acquired  a  claim  to  the  reverence  of  another  genera- 
tion, our  Royal  Society,  in  electing  him  a  member 
(1696),  appear  to  have  felt  that  the  complimentary 
language  in  which  they  addressed  him  as  the  first 
mathematician  of  the  age  would  be  incomplete 
without  an  allusion  to  the  friendship  that  gained 
him  the  cherished  title  of  "the  last  disciple  of 

Early  in  1640,  the  peripatetic  Professor  in 
Padua,  Fortunio  Liceti,  published  a  book  on  the 
phosphorescence  of  the  Bologna  Stone,  so  called 
from  its  discovery  in  1602  by  Casiorolo,  a  shoe- 
maker and  alchemist  of  Bologna.  In  his  fiftieth 
chapter  he  treats  of  the  faint  light  of  that  part  of 

1  He  used  to  say  that  he  saw  nothing  in  the  writings  of  Galileo  to 
make  him  envious,  and  hardly  anything  which  he  would  care  to  call 
his  awn.  See  Martin's  "  GalUeV'  pp,  290  and  311. 

392  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI          [1636- 

the  new  moon  not  directly  illuminated  by  the  sun, 
holding  that  the  moon  was  phosphorescent  like  the 
Bologna  Stone,  and  rejecting  Galileo's  explanation 
that  it  arises  from  a  reflection  of  the  sun's  rays 
from  our  earth  to  the  moon  and  their  re-reflection 
from  the  moon  back  to  us.  Galileo  was  undecided 
whether  it  were  not  best  to  take  no  notice  of 
Liceti's  objections,  when  a  letter  from  Leopoldo 
de  Medici,  brother  of  the  reigning  Grand  Duke, 
relieved  him  of  his  doubts.  This  prince,  who  some 
years  later  gained  a  permanent  place  in  the  history 
of  science  by  founding  the  celebrated  Accademia 
del  Cimento,  solicited  Galileo's  views  on  Liceti's 
arguments,  This  challenge  sufficed  to  rouse  all 
his  dialectic  skill,  and  he  dictated  a  reply  (i3th 
March  1640)  in  the  form  of  a  letter  to  Prince 
Leopoldo,  which  in  spirit  and  crushing  argument, 
is  quite  equal  to  the  best  controversial  work  of 
his  manhood.  An  extract  will  serve  to  show  the 
difficulties  of  this  composition. 

"  I  am  obliged  to  have  recourse  to  other  hands 
and  other  pens  than  mine  since  my  sad  loss  of 
sight.  This  of  course  occasions  great  loss  of  time, 
particularly  now  that  my  memory  is  impaired  by 
advanced  age,  so  that  on  placing  my  thoughts  on 
paper,  many  and  many  a  time  I  must  have  the 
foregoing  sentences  read  to  me  before  I  can  tell 
what  ought  to  follow;  else  I  should  repeat  the 
same  thing  over  and  over  again.  Your  Highness 
may  take  my  word  for  it  that  between  using  one's 
own  eyes  and  hands  and  those  of  others  there  is 
as  great  a  difference  as  between  playing  chess  with 
one's  eyes  open  and  blindfolded." 

This   letter  of  fifty   (printed)  pages  led   to   a 


correspondence  with  Liceti,  covering  the  period 
from  June  1640  to  January  1641.  The  letters  are 
full  of  science  and  philosophy,  and  are  pervaded  by 
a  verve,  an  urbanity,  and  a  piquant  irony,  which 
make  them  refreshing  reading  even  to-day.  In 
them  he  not  only  deals  with  the  arguments  and 
pretensions  of  his  adversary,  but  he  delivers  his 
opinions  very  freely  on  the  whole  method  of  Aris- 
totle and  of  the  modern  peripatetic  school  of  his 
debased  followers.  The  correspondence  ended  in 
Galileo  sending  a  revised  copy  of  his  letter  to 
Prince  Leopoldo  to  Liceti,  which  the  latter  printed 
in  1642  together  with  his  reply. 

Ten  months  before  his  death,  a  last  occasion  of 
discussing  the  Copernican  theory  was  in  a  manner 
forced  upon  Galileo.  The  mathematician  Pieroni 
having  announced  the  discovery  of  a  small  annual 
parallax  for  some  of  the  fixed  stars  (which,  if  true, 
would  place  the  correctness  of  the  Copernican 
theory  beyond  all  question),  Francesco  Rinuccini, 
a  former  pupil,  communicated  this  intelligence  to 
his  old  master  on  23rd  March  1641,  and  at  the 
same  time  begged  his  opinion  on  a  recently 
published  argument  against  the  revolution  of  the 
earth,  namely,  since  we  see  exactly  one-half  of 
the  firmament,  it  must  follow  that  the  earth  is 
in  the  centre  of  the  starry  sphere.  This  was  the 
impulse  to  Galileo's  reply  of  six  days  later  (2 9th 
March),  which,  as  Martin  and  Von  Gebler  say, 
whether  a  jest  or  a  mask,  should  never  have  been 
written.  He  begins  by  saying  that  the  falsity  of 
the  Copernican  doctrine  can  in  no  way  be  doubted, 
especially  by  Catholics,  since  we  have  opposed  to 

394  GALILEO    AT    ARCETRI         [1636- 

it  the  irrefragable  authority  of  Holy  Scripture,  as 
interpreted  by  the  greatest  masters  of  theology, 
whose  unanimous  declaration  makes  the  stability  of 
the  earth  in  the  centre,  and  the  mobility  of  the 
sun  around  it,  a  certainty.  This  so  resembles  the 
ironical  style  of  his  letter  of  1618  to  Prince 
Leopold  of  Austria  when  forwarding  his  treatise 
on  the  tides,  the  introduction  to  his  Reply  to 
Ingoli  in  1624,  and  his  preface  to  the  discreet 
reader  in  his  Dialogues  of  1632,  that  it  cannot  be 
taken  as  seriously  meant  He  then  goes  on,  as  at 
the  end  of  the  Dialogues  just  mentioned  : — 

"The  grounds  on  which  Copernicus  and  his 
followers  have  maintained  the  contrary  fall  to 
pieces  before  the  fundamental  argument  of  the 
Divine  Omnipotence.  For,  since  this  is  able  to 
effect  by  many,  aye,  by  endless  means  what,  so  far 
as  we  can  see,  appears  practicable  in  one  way  only, 
we  must  not  limit  the  power  of  God,  and  persist 
obstinately  in  our  mistaken  notions.  As  I  hold  the 
Copernican  theory  to  be  insufficient,  so,  that  of 
Ptolemy,  Aristotle,  and  their  followers,  appears  to 
me  far  more  delusive  and  mistaken,  because  its 
falsity  can  be  clearly  proved  without  going  beyond 
the  limits  of  human  knowledge." 

The  Copernican  theory  being  thus  condemned, 
and  the  alternatives,  those  of  Ptolemy  and  Tycho 
Brah6  being  demonstrably  untenable,  it  only  remains, 
he  says,  for  philosophers  to  find  some  other  system 
of  which  both  science  and  theology  can  approve. 
Then  coming  to  the  new  argument  against  the 
mobility  of  the  earth  which  so  troubled  his  corre- 
spondent, he  shows  that  it  is  a  mere  petitio  principii, 

i64i]     LAST  WORDS  ON  COPERNICANISM     395 

and  has  not  the  least  foundation  in  astronomical 
science  ;  and,  finally,  as  to  the  reported  discovery 
of  a  stellar  parallax,  he  says  briefly  that  if  Pieroni's 
observation  be  correct,  human  reason  would  compel 
us  to  conclude  that  the  earth  is  not  immobile 
in  the  centre  of  the  starry  sphere.  But,  as  if 
repenting  his  audacity  in  saying  this,  he  hastens 
to  add,  "If  Pieroni  may  be  mistaken  in  supposing 
that  he  had  observed  a  parallax  of  a  few  seconds, 
those  others  may  be  still  more  mistaken  who  assert 
that  the  visible  firmament  never  varies,  not  even 
one  or  two  seconds,  for  such  an  exact  observation 
is  utterly  impossible,  partly  from  the  insufficiency 
of  astronomical  instruments,  and  partly  from  the 
refraction  of  light/' 

Cesare  Cantu  and  some  writers  after  him  have 
assumed  from  this  letter  that  at  the  close  of  his 
life  Galileo  had  really  renounced,  and  from  pure 
conviction,  the  astronomical  doctrines  for  which  he 
had  laboured  and  suffered  for  thirty  years.  But  if 
we  bear  in  mind  all  the  circumstances  under  which 
the  letter  was  written,  we  will  see  that  this  assump- 
tion is  quite  untenable,  and  that  we  must  conclude 
with  Martin  and  Von  Gebler  that  the  passages  on 
which  Cantii  and  his  followers  rely  were  not  meant 
to  be  taken  an  pied  de  la  lettre — that  they  were,  as 
Martin  puts  it,  "  la  protestation  habilement  ironique 
d'une  pens^e  contrainte  £L  se  cacher."  * 

A  few  months  before  his  mortal  illness  Galileo 
once  more  gave  evidence  of  his  genius.  It  has 
been  remarked  in  the  progress  of  science  and 

1  Martin's  "  Galilee,"  p.  235 ;  Getter's  "  Galileo  and  the  Roman 
Curia,"  p.  305. 

396          GALILEO     AT    ARCETRI     [1636-1641 

scientific  invention  that  the  steps,  which  on  looking 
back  seem  the  easiest  to  make,  are  often  those 
which  are  the  longest  delayed.  The  application  of 
the  pendulum  to  clocks  is  an  instance  of  this.  We 
have  seen  that  Galileo  was  early  convinced  of  the 
value  of  the  pendulum  as  a  measurer  of  time, 
and  that  as  far  back  as  1582  he  used  it  in 
the  pulsilogia;  yet  fifty-five  years  later,  although 
constantly  using  it  meanwhile,  he  had  not  de- 
vised a  more  practicable  application  of  it  than 
that  described  in  his  "Astronomical  Operations/' 


"  I  make  use  of  a  heavy  and  solid  pendulum  of 
brass  or  copper,  in  the  shape  of  a  sector  of  twelve 
or  fifteen  degrees,  the  radius  of  which  may  be  two 
or  three  palms  (the  greater  it  is  the  less  trouble  in 
attending  it).  This  sector  I  make  thickest  in  the 
middle  radius,  tapering  gradually  towards  the  edges, 
where  I  terminate  it  in  a  tolerably  sharp  line,  to 
obviate  as  much  as  possible  the  resistance  of  the 
air,  which  is  the  sole  cause  of  its  retardation.  This 
sector  is  pierced  in  the  centre,  through  which  is 
passed  an  iron  bar  shaped  like  those  on  which 
steelyards  hang,  terminated  below  in  an  angle,  and 
placed  on  two  bronze  supports.  If  the  sector  (when 
accurately  balanced)  be  removed  several  degrees 
from  the  perpendicular,  it  will  continue  a  to-and-fro 
motion  through  a  very  great  number  of  vibra- 
tions before  coming  to  rest ;  and  in  order  that 
it  may  continue  its  oscillations  as  long  as  it  is 
wanted,  the  attendant  must  occasionally  give  it 
a  smart  push  so  as  to  carry  it  back  to  large 

"  Now  to  save  the  fatigue  of  continually  counting 
the  oscillations,  this  is  a  convenient  contrivance — a 
small  delicate  needle  extends  from  the  middle  of  the 

GALILEO'S  DESIGN  OF  A  PENDULUM  CLOCK  (see  next  page). 

From  Favaro's  "  Galileo  e  Cristiano  Huygens.  Nuovi  document! 
sull'  applicazione  del  pendolo  all'  orologio"  (Nuovi  studi 
Galileiam]  Venice,  1891). 

398  GALILEO    AT     ARCETRI          [1636- 

sector  which  in  passing  strikes  a  rod  hung  at  one 
end.  The  lower  end  of  this  rod  rests  on  the  teeth 
of  a  horizontal  wheel  as  light  as  paper.  The  teeth 
are  cut  like  those  of  a  saw.  The  rod  striking 
against  the  perpendicular  side  of  a  tooth  moves  it, 
but  when  returning  it  slips  over  the  oblique  side  of 
the  next  tooth  and  falls  at  its  foot,  so  that  the 
motion  of  the  wheel  will  be  in  one  direction  only. 
By  counting  the  teeth  you  may  see  at  will  the 
number  passed,  and,  consequently,  the  number  of 
oscillations  or  periods  of  time  which  you  wish  to 
measure.  You  may  also  fit  to  the  axis  of  the  wheel 
a  second,  with  a  smaller  number  of  teeth  and  in 
gear  with  a  third  wheel  having  a  greater  number  of 
teeth,  and  so  on.  As  the  error  of  clocks  consists 
chiefly  in  the  inability  of  mechanicians  to  adjust 
what  we  call  the  balance  of  the  clock  so  that 
it  may  vibrate  regularly,  my  very  simple  pendulum, 
which  is  not  liable  to  any  alteration,  affords  a 
means  of  maintaining  the  measures  of  time  always 

It  was  chiefly  because  of  the  inadequacy  of  this 
method  that  the  negotiations  with  the  States- 
General  were  finally  broken  off.  Now,  in  the 
second  half  of  1641,  it  occurred  to  Galileo  (as 
stated  by  Viviani  who  was  present)  that  the  prob- 
lem could  be  solved  by  adding  the  pendulum  to 
the  ordinary  clock  as  a  regulator  of  its  movements. 
He  explained  his  idea  to  his  son,  Vincenzio,  who 
made  a  drawing  (of  which  we  reproduce  a  facsimile) 
from  his  father's  dictation.  Before  the  plan  could  be 
tried  Galileo  fell  ill,  and  this  time  did  not  recover. 
The  matter  was  laid  aside,  but  seven  years  after  his 
father  s  death,  Vincenzio  resumed  it,  and  was  engaged 
in  constructing  what  would  have  been  the  first 


pendulum  clock,  when  he  too  fell  ill  and  died,  i6th 
May  I649.1 

1  For  more  on  this  interesting  subject,  see  Viviani's  account  which 
he  wrote  expressly,  2Oth  August  1659,  for  Prince  Leopoldo  de  Medici 
in  Alberi's  vol.  14.  The  application  of  the  pendulum  to  clocks  has 
been  claimed  for  the  Swiss,  Burgi,  and  for  Richard  Harris  of  London 
in  1611  ;  but  Christian  Huygens  appears  to  have  been  the  first  to 
actually  construct  a  pendulum  clock  between  1654  and  1657. 



THE  last  few  months  of  Galileo's  life  were  soothed 
by  the  devotion  of  his  friends,  and  the  homage 
of  all  to  whom  his  name  was  known.  The  Grand 
Duke  was  most  attentive  in  enquiries  after  his 
health,  and  sent  him  supplies  of  his  choicest 
wines  and  other  delicacies.  Besides  the  creature 
comforts  thus  supplied,  Galileo  had  the  pleasure  of 
once  more  meeting  his  old  friend  Castelli,  and  dis- 
coursing with  him  on  the  things  of  that  world  to 
which  they  both  were  tending.  The  good  Father 
arrived  from  Rome  towards  the  end  of  September 
1641,  intending  to  stay  to  the  end,  but  he  had  to 
return  to  his  duties  early  in  November. 

Towards  the  middle  of  October,  Evangelista 
Torricelli,  then  a  rising  philosopher  of  thirty-three, 
came  to  stay  at  the  villa,  and  did  not  leave  it  until  he 
followed  the  coffin  of  the  great  master.  Torricelli  first 
studied  under  Castelli,  and,  later  on,  occasionally  lec- 
tured for  him  in  Rome,  in  which  manner  he  was  em- 
ployed when  Galileo,  who  had  seen  his  early  treatises 
on  mechanics  and  on  the  motion  of  fluids,  and  had 
augured  the  greatest  success  from  such  beginnings, 


1642]  LASTDAYS  401 

invited  him  to  Arcetri.  He  succeeded  the  master 
in  his  appointment  at  the  Court  of  Florence,  but 
survived  him  only  a  few  years,  dying  in  1647,  at  the 
early  age  of  thirty-nine.  The  youthful  Viviani,  as 
we  know,  was  already  in  the  villa,  acting  as  a  loving 
son  to  an  honoured  father.  He,  Torricelli,  and 
Vincenzio  Galilei  shared  between  them  the  duties 
of  amanuensis  and  companion. 

On  the  ist  October,  Bonaventura  Cavalieri, 
another  of  Castelli's  distinguished  pupils,  whom 
Galileo  used  to  call  "  another  Archimedes,"  wrote 
from  Bologna,  expressing  his  grief  at  not  being 
able,  on  account  of  his  infirmities,  to  join  the  dis- 
tinguished company ;  and  another  lifelong  friend 
and  champion,  Fra  Fulgenzio  Micanzio  of  Venice, 
to  whom  Galileo  had  written  in  praise  of  his  new 
collaborateur.,  replied  on  2nd  November  in  similar 
terms ;  he  envied,  he  said,  the  reunions  of  such  an 
illustrious  triumvirate,  Galileo,  Castelli,  and  Torri- 

On  5th  November,  Galileo  was  attacked  by  a 
low  fever  with  pains  in  the  limbs,  which  confined 
him  to  bed  from  which  he  never  rose  again.  Yet 
in  spite  of  these  sufferings,  aggravated  by  insomnia, 
and  by  frequent  attacks  of  palpitations  of  the  heart, 
his  mind  was  clear  and  busy  to  the  last,  and  in 
the  intervals  of  pain  he  passed  hours  in  scientific 
discussions  with  Torricelli  and  Viviani  who  care- 
fully noted  his  utterances.  These  related  to  the 
Mechanical  Problems  of  Aristotle,  to  his  long 
contemplated  (since  1609)  Treatise  on  the  Move- 
ments of  Animals,  to  the  properties  of  the  cycloid, 
but  chiefly  to  the  force  of  percussion.  His  notes 

2  c 

402  DEATH     OF    GALILEO  [1642 

on  the  first  three  subjects  have  not  come  down 
to  us,  but  those  on  percussion  now  form  the 
sixth  Dialogue  added  to  the  later  editions  of  the 
u  Dialogues  on  the  Two  New  Sciences,"  as  already 

On  the  evening  of  8th  January  1642,  the  year 
of  Newton's  birth,  Galileo  breathed  his  last,  at  the 
age  of  nearly  seventy-eight,  fortified  by  the  last  rites 
of  the  Church,  and  the  benediction  of  Urban  VIII. 
His  son  Vincenzio  and  his  wife,  Torricelli  and 
Viviani,  and  the  parish  priest  of  Arcetri  were 
around  his  bed. 

Not  only  was  his  power  of  making  a  will 
disputed,  but  the  propriety  of  laying  his  body  in 
consecrated  ground  was  questioned  by  some 
fanatics,  who  could  only  see  in  the  life  of  this 
great  man  the  one  fact,  that  he  had  died  under 
sentence  of  the  Holy  Office,  " vehemently  sus- 
pected" of  heresy.  On  a  reference  to  the  proper 
authorities,  his  power  of  making  a  will  was  upheld, 
and  it  was  also  ruled  that  his  friends  had  full 
right  to  place  his  remains  in  consecrated  ground. 

Accordingly,  preparations  were  at  once  made 
for  a  public  funeral  such  as  might  best  show  the 
sense  of  the  Court  and  the  city  of  the  greatness 
of  their  loss,  and  the  sum  of  3000  crowns  was 
quickly  collected  to  cover  the  expense  of  a  marble 
monument  in  the  Church  of  Santa  Croce.  These 
and  other  particulars  were  reported  to  Rome, 
whereupon  the  Pope  sent  for  the  Tuscan  Ambas- 
sador, Niccolini,  and  desired  him  to  tell  his 
master  that  it  would  be  a  bad  example  for  the 
world  if  such  honours  were  rendered  to  a  man 


who  had  been  arraigned  before  the  Holy  Office 
for  false  and  erroneous  opinions  ;  who  had  com- 
municated them  to  many  others  ;  and,  altogether, 
had  caused  the  greatest  scandal  to  all  Christendom. 
Niccolini,  reporting  this  interview  on  25th  January 
1642,  advised  that  the  project  of  a  funeral  oration 
and  a  monument  be  laid  aside,  at  least  for  a  time  ; 
since,  as  his  Holiness  claimed  to  be  absolute 
master  of  all  churches  and  consecrated  grounds, 
it  was  likely  that  an  insistence  on  these  public 
honours  would  draw  on  the  Grand  Duke  himself 
some  such  affront  as  was  offered,  not  long  before, 
to  the  Duke  of  Mantua  (by  the  removal  of  the 
body  of  the  Countess  Matilda  from  Mantua  to  St 
Peter's  in  Rome).1  So  determined  and  threatening 
was  the  Pope's  attitude  in  this  matter  that  the 
weak  Ferdinando  II.  was  not  able  to  resist 
Proposals  both  for  a  public  funeral  and  a 
monument  were  laid  aside,  and  the  friends  of  the 
great  dead  were  constrained  to  hide  away  (there 
was  not  even  an  epitaph)  his  beloved  remains  in 
a  little  room  or  cell  (9  feet  by  6)  to  the  right  of 
the  altar  in  the  Chapel  of  the  Novices,  situated  at 
the  end  of  the  corridor  leading  from  the  south 
transept  of  Santa  Croce  to  the  great  sacristy.2 
It  was  not  till  nearly  thirty-two  years  later 
(September  1673)  when  Urban  VIII.  had  long 

1  At  the  same  time  the  Inquisitor  in  Florence  was  instructed  to 
make  similar  representations  to  the  Grand  Duke ;  and  if  without  the 
desired  effect,  he  was  to  see  that  there  was  nothing  in  the  epitaph 
that  could  be  construed  as  an  insult  to  the  Holy  Office,  and  he  was 
to  exercise  the  same  care  in  the  preparation  of  the  funeral  oration. 

2  Here  were  also  laid  in  1703  the  remains  of  Viviani  who  desired 
to  lie  beside  his  master. 

404  DEATH     OF    GALILEO  [X642 

been  dead,  that  Father  Gabriele  Pierozzi  of  Santa 
Croce  ventured  to  honour  the  illustrious  dead  by 
painting  on  the  wall  of  the  cell  a  somewhat 
bombastic  inscription,  and  placing  on  a  plaster 
bracket  above  it  a  small  bust  of  Galileo  in  clay, 
painted  in  imitation  of  marble.  The  bust  was 
removed  in  1737,  at  the  translation  of  Galileo's 
remains  (to  be  presently  described),  but  the 
inscription  remains,  partly  obliterated,  and  in  a  fair 
way  of  disappearing,  by  the  scaling  of  the  plaster.1 

In  1693,  Viviani  ventured  to  erect  the  first 
public  monument  to  Galileo.  On  the  front  of  his 
house  in  Via  dell'  Amore  (now  Via  San  Antonino), 
he  placed  a  bronze  bust  of  the  philosopher,  which 
was  cast  from  a  mould  of  a  terra-cotta  bust  made  in 
1610  by  Giovanni  Caccini,  the  sculptor,  by  desire  of 
Cosimo  II.  Over  this  and  on  both  sides  of  the 
entrance  door,  on  large  marble  scrolls,  are 
engraved  long  eulogies  of  the  master.2 

But  Viviani  was  not  content  with  these  pious 
memorials.  Dying  in  1703,  he  left  his  property 
to  his  nephew,  the  Abbe  Jacopo  Panzanini, 
charged  with  the  condition  of  erecting  a  suitable 
monument  in  bronze  and  marble  as  soon  as 
permission  to  do  so  could  be  obtained.  For  over 
thirty  years  no  attempt  was  made  to  carry  out  his 
wishes,  and  then  the  business  was  taken  in  hand, 

1  Brewster  ("Martyrs  of  Science ")  gives  a  copy  of  this  inscrip- 
tion, but  not  quite  accurately.    See  Albert's   "Opere  di    Galileo," 
vol.  xv.  p.  405, 

2  For  these,  see  Alb&ri's  vol.  xv.  pp.  373-80.    Viviani  had  also 
caused  a  medal  to  be  struck  in  honour  of  Galileo ;  and  no  less  than 
five  other  commemorative  medals  were  issued   during  his  residence 
in  Padua  and  Florence.    All  of  these  are  reproduced  in  Nelli's  and 
Ventures  works. 

Galileo's  Monument  in  Santa  Croce,  Florence. 

[  To  face  /.  404, 

i642]   MONUMENT   IN   SANTA   CROCK    405 

not  by  Viviani's  heir,  but  by  the  executor  Gio. 
Battista  Nelli.  In  1734,  enquiries  were  made  at 
Rome  as  to  whether  there  was  any  decree  of  the 
Holy  Office  which  would  prevent  the  erection  of 
a  monument.  The  reply,  i6th  June  1734,  was 
that  there  was  nothing  against  such  a  proposal, 
provided  the  intended  inscription  were  submitted 
for  approval.  The  'work  was  accordingly  taken 
in  hand,  but  dragged  on  slowly  for  nearly  three 
years.  Finally,  on  the  night  of  i2th  March  1737, 
and  in  presence  of  the  leading  clergy,  of  all 
the  professors  of  the  schools  of  Florence  and  Pisa, 
and  of  learned,  literary,  and  artistic  men  from  all 
parts  of  Italy,  Galileo's  remains  were  removed 
with  great  pomp  to  the  mausoleum  in  the  north 
aisle  of  Santa  Croce — the  Pantheon  of  the 
Florentines  —  whither  also  were  conveyed  the 
remains  of  Viviani,  according  to  his  last  wishes. 

The  monument,  which  we  reproduce  from  a 
photograph,  is  the  work  of  Gio.  Battista  Foggini, 
assisted  by  his  son,  Vincenzio,  and  Girolamo 
Ticciati,  The  bust  of  Galileo  and  the  figure 
representing  astronomy  are  the  work  of  Vincenzio 
Foggini,  while  the  figure  of  geometry  is  from  the 
chisel  of  Ticciati. 

"  In  Santa  Croce's  holy  precincts  lie 
Ashes  which  make  it  holier,     .     . 

here  repose 

Angelo's,  Alfieri's  bones,  and  his 
The  starry  Galileo,  with  his  woes ; 
Here  Machiavelli's  earth  returned  to  whence  it  rose." 
— BYRON,  Childe  Harold,  Canto  IV.  54. 

Galileo's  old  resting-place  was  about  two  yards 

406  DEATH    OF    GALILEO  [1642 

high,  and  consisted  of  rude  masonry,  built  on  the 
floor  and  against  the  wall  of  the  cell.  Viviani's 
was  close  beside  it,  of  similar  structure  but  smaller. 
On  breaking  away  the  stonework  of  the  latter, 
which  it  was  found  convenient  to  remove  first, 
and  on  opening  the  coffin,  a  lead  plate  was  found, 
attached  to  the  inside  of  the  lid,  on  which  was 
inscribed — 

"  Vincenzio  Viviani  Morto  il  di  xxii  Settembre  1703." 

The  cover  was  then  replaced,  and  the  coffin  was 
transferred  to  its  new  resting-place. 

Returning  to  the  little  chapel,  the  masonry  of 
Galileo's  tomb  was  removed,  and  the  coffin  laid 
open.  Giovanni  Targioni-Tozzetti,  one  of  the  pall- 
bearers, tells  us  that  the  face  was  well  preserved, 
and  like  the  bust  by  the  sculptor  Caccini,  made  in 
1610,  and  also  very  like  Sustermans'  portrait, 
circa  1635  (a  copy  of  which  forms  the  frontispiece 
of  the  present  work).  A  heavy  iron  girdle  was 
found  in  the  coffin,  so  fashioned  as  to  lead 
Targioni-Tozzetti  to  suppose  that  the  wearer  must 
have  suffered  from  rupture  on  both  sides.  It  was 
also  observed  that  the  body  was  pierced,  probably 
to  let  escape  an  accumulation  of  water,  and  the 
opening  was  filled  with  coarse  wadding.  This 
seems  to  indicate  dropsy,  which  must,  therefore, 
be  added  to  the  poor  old  man's  other  maladies.1 

During  the  work  of  exhumation  and  identifica- 
tion Canon  Gio.  Vin.  Capponi,  President  of  the 
Sacra  Accademia  Fiorentina,  took  an  opportunity 

1  Targioni-Tozzetti:  "Notizie  degli  Aggrandimenti  delle  Scienze 
Fisiche  in  Toscana,"  Florence,  1780. 

i642]      TRANSLATION   OF  REMAINS     407 

of  removing  with  a  knife  the  thumb  and  forefinger 
of  Galileo's  right  hand!  because,  as  he  said  to 
Targioni-Tozzetti,  they  held  the  pen  with  which 
so  many  fine  things  were  written ;  but  the  latter 
(who  tells  the  story  in  the  work  just  quoted)  tapped 
the  skull,  and  said  he  would  rather  have  some  of  the 
brains  which  conceived  the  grand  thoughts.  These 
relics  were  still  preserved  in  the  Capponi  family 
down  to  1845,  and  are  now  apparently  lost. 

Soon  after,  Anton.  Francesco  Gori,  Professor  of 
Ancient  History  in  the  University  of  Florence, 
removed  the  index  finger  of  the  left  hand,  which, 
at  his  death,  passed  to  Canon  Angelo  Bandini. 
At  his  death  in  1803,  it  came  into  the  custody  of 
the  Laurenzian  Library  (of  which  Bandini  had  been 
Keeper),  and  in  1841  it  was  transferred  to  its 
present  place  in  the  Tribuna  di  Galileo  in  Florence. 
It  is  enclosed  in  a  crystal  urn,  and  bears  an  inscrip- 
tion from  the  pen  of  Tommaso  Perelli,  a  celebrated 
astronomer  of  Pisa,  circa  1770 — 

"  Leipsana  ne  spernas  digit!  quo  dextera  coeli 
Mensa  vias  nunquam  visos  mortalibus  orbes 
Monstravit,  parvo  fragilis  molimine  vitri 
Ausa  prior  facinus  cui  non  Titania  quondam 
Suffecit  pubes  congestis  montibus  altis 
Nequidquam  superas  conata  ascendere  in  arces." 

At  the  same  time,  yet  another  idolater,  Dr 
Antonio  Cocchi,  Professor  of  Natural  Philosophy 
and  Anatomy,  took  away  the  fifth  lumbar  vertebra, 
which,  after  passing  through  many  hands,  came 
into  the  possession  of  Dr  Thiene,  In  1823,  he 
presented  it  to  the  University  of  Padua,  where  it 
is  now  preserved  in  the  museum  attached  to  the 
physical  science  laboratory. 

4o8  CONCLUSION  [1642 

From  Viviani's  biography  of  Galileo  (1654)  we 
learn  that  he  was  of  a  cheerful  and  pleasant  counte- 
nance, especially  in  later  life,  square  of  frame,  well- 
proportioned,  and  rather  above  the  middle  height 
His  complexion  was  fair  and  sanguine,  his  eyes 
sparkling,  and  his  hair  and  beard,  of  which  he  had 
an  abundance,  of  a  reddish  hue.  Up  to  the  age 
of  thirty  his  constitution  was  sound,  but  after  his 
first  serious  illness  in  1593  he  was  beset  by  various 
complaints,  which  increased  in  gravity  and  frequency 
as  the  years  rolled  on.  Thus  for  nearly  fifty  years 
he  was  subject  to  frequent  attacks  of  fever, 
hypochondria,  and  rheumatism,  and,  latterly,  to 
gout,  rupture,  and  insomnia.  Yet,  with  such  a 
multitude  of  complaints  as  would  have  made  a 
miserable  valetudinarian  of  any  other  man,  his 
industry  was  extraordinary.  It  was  said  that  no 
one  had  ever  seen  him  idle,  and  one  of  his  favourite 
sayings  was  that  occupation  is  the  best  medicine  for 
both  mind  and  body. 

His  temper  was  what  we  would  call  short ;  he 
was  easily  ruffled,  but  more  easily  pacified — a 
condition  which,  if  not  produced,  was  certainly 
aggravated  by  physical  suffering,  and  the  troubles 
of  all  kinds,  public  and  private,  from  which  for  sixty 
years  he  was  seldom  free. 

In  his  younger  days  he  was  fond  of  a  country 
residence.  Besides  believing  that  the  city  air 
was  prejudicial  to  his  health,  he  was  wont  to  say 
that  the  city  was  in  a  manner  a  prison  for  the 
speculative  philosopher;  that  in  the  country  alone 
was  the  book  of  nature  open  to  him  whp  cared  to 
read  and  learn  from  it ;  that  the  characters  in  which 

1642]    TEMPERAMENT   AND   TASTES    409 

that  book  was  written  were  those  of  geometry ;  and 
that  when  once  they  were  fully  deciphered  we  might 
hope  to  penetrate  the  deepest  mysteries  of  nature. 

Though  he  loved  the  quiet  of  a  country  life,  he 
was  fond  of  the  society  of  friends,  to  whom  he 
constantly  dispensed  a  hospitality  simple  but 
hearty.  Gardening  in  all  its  forms  was  his 
favourite  and  almost  his  only  relaxation  from  the 
severe  studies  which  filled  his  days,  and  great  part 
of  his  nights.  He  was  a  connoisseur  in  wines,  and 
was  diligent  in  tending  his  own  vineyard.  He  used 
to  say  that  wine  is  a  compound  of  humour  and 
light ;  and  Viviani  has  preserved  one  of  his  recipes 
— for  wine  of  the  best  quality,  that  juice  only  should 
be  taken  which  is  pressed  out  by  the  mere  weight 
of  the  heaped  grapes  of  the  ripest  kind. 

All  through  life  he  was  fond  of  wine,  perhaps 
sometimes  too  fond  for  his  health  and  temper,1  and 
even  in  old  age  the  taste  was  apparently  as  keen  as 
ever,  as  the  following  curious  letter  will  show.  It 
is  headed  "  From  my  prison  at  Arcetri,"  and  is 
dated  4th  March  1637 — 

"  I  am  forced  to  avail  myself  of  your  assistance, 
agreeably  to  your  obliging  offers,  in  consequence 
of  the  excessive  chill  both  of  weather  and  of  old 
age,  and  from  having  drained  out  my  grand 
stock  of  a  hundred  bottles  which  I  laid  in  two 
years  ago — not  to  mention  some  minor  par- 
ticulars during  the  last  two  months  which  I 
received  from  my  serene  master,  from  the 
Cardinal  de  Medici,  the  princes,  and  the  Duke 
of  Guise;  besides  clearing  out  two  barrels  of 
the  wine  of  this  country.  Now  I  beg  that,  with 

1  See  Favaro's  "Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  141. 

4io  CONCLUSION  [1642 

all  due  diligence  and  industry  and  taking 
counsel  with  the  most  refined  palates,  you  will 
provide  me  with  two  cases,  ^.e.  forty  flasks  of 
different  wines,  the  most  exquisite  that  you  can 
find.  Take  no  thought  of  expense,  because  I 
stint  myself  so  much  in  all  other  pleasures  that 
I  can  afford  to  lay  out  something  at  the  shrine 
of  Bacchus,  without  giving  offence  to  his  two 
companions  Venus  and  Ceres.  You  must  be 
careful  to  leave  out  neither  Scillo  nor  Carino  (I 
believe  they  should  be  called  Scylla  and 
Charybdis),  nor  the  country  of  my  master 
Archimedes  of  Syracuse,  nor  Greek  wines,  nor 
clarets,  etc.  The  expense  I  shall  easily  be  able 
to  satisfy,  but  not  the  infinite  obligation  I  shall 
owe  you." 

In  other  expenditure  Galileo  observed  a 
just  mean  between  avarice  and  prodigality.  He 
spared  no  cost  necessary  for  the  success  of  his 
many  and  various  experiments,  and  spent  large 
sums  in  charity,  and  in  assisting  those  in  whom 
he  discovered  promise  of  any  kind,  many  of  whom 
he  entertained  in  his  own  house.  Even  in  the 
last  year  of  his  life,  he  had  one  such  poor  scholar 
in  the  Villa,  as  may  be  seen  from  Cesare  Monti's 
letter  of  3Oth  May  1640,  and  Galileo's  reply  of 
2nd  November  following. 

He  seldom  conversed  on  mathematical  or 
philosophical  topics,  except  with  his  intimate 
friends ;  and  when  such  subjects  were  abruptly 
brought  before  him  by  others,  as  was  often 
done  by  the  numerous  strangers  who  called  upon 
him,  he  showed  great  readiness  in  parrying 
and  turning  the  conversation  into  other  channels, 
in  such  manner,  however,  that  he  usually  contrived 

1642]    TEMPERAMENT   AND  TASTES    411 

to  say  something  to  satisfy  the  curiosity  of  the 
enquirer.  His  demeanour,  therefore,  was  modest 
and  unassuming.  Of  self-praise  so  much  is  re- 
corded of  him  that,  when  his  sight  was  decaying 
beyond  all  hope  of  recovery,  he  used  to  comfort  him- 
self by  saying  that  of  all  the  sons  of  Adam  none 
had  seen  so  much  as  he.  He  neither  depreciated 
nor  envied  the  talents  of  other  men,  but  gave  to 
each  his  due,  according  to  his  own  lights.  It 
was  the  custom  of  many  of  his  followers  to 
speak  of  Aristotle  with  contempt,  not  so  the 
master,  he  would  only  say  that  the  methods  of 
reasoning  of  the  great  Stagirite  philosopher 
appeared  to  him  unsatisfactory,  or  erroneous  ; 
and  such  of  the  works  of  Aristotle  as  he  did 
admire,  he  admired  frankly,  especially  those  on 
Ethics  and  Rhetoric.  He  exalted  Plato  to  the 
skies,  calling  his  eloquence  golden.  Pythagoras, 
he  thought,  unequalled  among  philosophers ;  but 
Archimedes  was  the  only  one  of  the  ancients 
whom  he  called  master.  Much  of  Virgil,  Ovid, 
Horace,  and  Seneca,  he  knew  by  heart. 

His  memory  was  uncommonly  tenacious,  and 
was  stored  with  a  variety  of  old  songs  and 
stories  which  he  would  bring  out  on  all  suitable 
occasions — The  Sonnets  of  Petrarch,  the  Rime 
of  Berni,  and  the  heroic  stanzas  of  the  "Orlando 
Furioso"  he  could  repeat  in  great  part.  As  we 
have  already  seen  in  our  Chapter  II,  his  excessive 
admiration  of  Ariosto  determined  the  side  which 
he  took  against  Tasso  in  the  virulent  controversy 
which  had  divided  Italy  so  long  on  the  merits 
of  these  two  poets.  It  should,  however,  be 

4i2  CONCLUSION  [1642 

remembered  that  his  matured  taste  receded  from 
the  violence  of  his  youthful  prejudices,  and, 
towards  the  end  of  his  life,  he  avoided  as  much 
as  possible  making  any  comparisons,  and,  when 
forced  to  give  an  opinion,  he  would  say  that 
Tasso's  appeared  the  finer  poem,  but  that 
Ariosto's  gave  him  greater  pleasure.1 

Of  his  obiter  dicta,  not  many  have  been 
preserved.  Besides  those  already  noted,  one  or 
two  others  may  be  quoted.  The  book  of  philo- 
sophy, he  used  to  say,  is  the  book  of  nature 
which  lies  always  open  before  us,  and  is  written 
in  characters  of  geometry.  Not  to  know,  then, 
geometry,  is  to  be  ignorant  of  nature.  Another 
favourite  axiom,  conveying  the  same  truth,  was 
Ignorato  motu  ignoratur  natura.  When  the 
understanding  has  experience  to  inform  it,  reason 
is  not  indispensable,  was  another  of  his  sayings. 
He  was  wont  to  say  that  he  had  never  met 
with  a  man  so  ignorant  that  something  might 
not  be  learnt  from  him ;  again,  that  ignorance  in 
others  was  his  best  teacher,  for  in  learning  how 
to  combat  ignorance  he  taught  himself.  He  used 
to  say  that  it  was  the  privilege  of  the  sad  and 
miserable  not  to  be  envied  by  the  merry,  and 
of  the  wicked,  not  to  be  envied  by  the  good. 

As  a  teacher  he  was  no  less  loved  and 
valued  than  as  a  friend.  However  clear  a  subject 
might  be  to  his  own  mind,  he  was  not  satisfied 
till  he  made  it  as  clear  to  the  minds  of  his  pupils. 
"From  Signor  Galileo/'  wrote  Marsili  (in  1637), 

1  See  his  letters  of  5th  November  1639  and  igth  May  1640,  to 
Francesco  Rinuccini. 

1642]      GREATNESS   AS   A   TEACHER      413 

"  I  learnt  more  in  three  months  than  I  did  in 
as  many  years  from  other  men."  "  I  thank 
God,"  said  Paolo  Aproino,  "for  having  given 
me  for  master  the  greatest  man  the  world  has 
ever  seen."  "When/1  wrote  Ciampoli,  after 
his  retirement  in  disgrace  to  Montalto  in  1633, 
"When  shall  I  embrace  you  as  a  father  and 
listen  to  you  as  an  oracle  ?  "  Viviani  and  Gherar- 
dini  are  equally  enthusiastic  ;  and  even  some  of  his 
stoutest  adversaries,  as  Lagalla  and  Grassi,  readily 
admitted  his  greatness  in  this  respect. 

Pages  might  be  filled  with  expressions  of 
gratitude  and  devotion  such  as  these  culled 
from  the  letters  of  Galileo's  disciples.  And  truly 
the  master  himself  might  adjudge  them  to  be 
of  higher  value,  as  a  testimony  to  his  greatness, 
than  the  marble  monument  under  which  he  now 
reposes  in  the  Church  of  Santa  Croce, 

On  the  occasion  of  the  third  congress  of 
scientific  men  in  Italy,  held  in  Florence  in  1841, 
the  Tribuna  di  Galileo  was  opened  by  Leopoldo 
II.,  the  last  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany.  It  is  on 
the  first  floor  of  the  Museum  of  Physics  and 
Natural  History,  a  building  which  the  scientific 
visitor  to  Florence  should  not  fail  to  explore ; 
for,  besides  the  exquisite  little  temple  of  Galileo, 
it  contains  a  vast  and  splendid  collection  of  scientific 
apparatus  of  all  kinds,  for  the  most  part  the  remains 
of  the  once  famous  Accademia  del  Cimento. 

An  extract  from  the  official  Guide,1  will  suffi- 
ciently explain  the  design  : — 

1  "  Guide  de  la  Tribune  de  Galilee,"  Florence,   1843.      It   was 
reprinted  in  1861,  and  has  long  been  out  of  print. 

414  CONCLUSION  [1642 

"  The  temple  being  dedicated  to  the  memory  of 
the  great  Galileo,  the  father  of  experimental  philo- 
sophy, and  being  destined  to  preserve  the  scientific 
instruments,  etc. — the  products  of  his  genius,  and  of 
that  of  his  school,  it  was  desired  that  it  should  be,  at 
the  same  time,  commemorative  of  the  most  famous 
epochs  of  Tuscan  philosophy,  and  of  the  men  who 
made  them  famous.  And,  in  order  to  preserve  the 
distinctively  national  character  of  the  work,  it  was 
decided  that  only  Tuscan  artificers  and  Tuscan 
materials  should  be  employed  in  the  building  and 
decorating.  Thus  the  architect,  Giuseppe  Martelli, 
was  Tuscan,  and  the  artificers,  the  painters,  and  the 
sculptors  were  all  Tuscan/' 

The  building,  which  is  said  to  have  cost  ,£40,000, 
consists  of  (i )  a  vestibule  which  is  lighted  on  the  left 
by  a  fine  stained-glass  window,  and  from  which 
opens,  on  the  right,  (2)  a  small  rectangular  hall, 
which  leads  to  (3)  a  semi-circular  tribune.  The 
interiors  are  entirely  lined  with  white  marble,  and 
profusely  decorated  with  frescoes,  medallions,  busts, 
and  drawings  carved  in  low-relief  and  illustrative  of 
the  discoveries  and  inventions  of  Galileo  and  his 
immediate  followers. 

In  the  centre  of  the  tribune  stands  the  statue  of 
Galileo  by  Professor  Costoli ;  and  in  compartments 
of  the  domed  ceiling  above  the  statue  are  three 
frescoes,  depicting  three  momentous  periods  of  his 
life— the  rising,  the  zenith,  and  the  setting  of  his 
genius.  In  the  first,  we  see  the  youthful  Galileo 
watching  intently  the  swinging  lamp  in  the  Cathedral 
of  Pisa.  In  the  second,  he  is  presenting  his  telescope 
to  the  Doge  of  Venice.  In  the  third,  old  and  blind, 
he  is  seated  at  a  table,  with  his  left  hand  on  a  globe, 

Tribuna  di  Galileo,  Florence, 

L  To  face  p.  414. 

1642]  TRIBUNE    OF    GALILEO        415 

and  discoursing  to  Torricelli  and  Viviani ;  the  parish 
priest  of  Arcetri,  and  Galileo's  father  confessor,  are 
seen  listening  at  the  open  door. 

In  the  (semi-circular)  wall  of  the  tribune  are  six 
niches ;  the  first,  second,  fifth,  and  sixth,  contain 
busts  of  Castelli  and  Cavalieri,  Torricelli  and 
Viviani,  the  two  first  and  the  two  last  disciples  of 
Galileo.  In  the  third  niche  one  sees,  through  a 
glass  frame,  two  of  Galileo's  later  telescopes,  and 
the  object-glass  of  the  telescope  with  which  he  made 
all  his  astronomical  discoveries  ;  we  have  reproduced 
a  photograph  of  these  precious  relics  to  face  p.  96. 
In  the  fourth  niche,  also  glass-covered,  are  seen  (i) 
a  geometrical  and  military  compass,  (2)  a  loadstone 
with  Galileo's  armature,  and  (3)  the  index  finger  of 
his  left  hand. 

In  lunettes,  above  the  walls  of  the  vestibule  and 
rectangular  hall,  are  four  large  frescoes.  One, 
which  faces  the  visitor  on  entering  the  temple, 
shows  Leonardo  da  Vinci  in  presence  of  Ludovico 
Sforza,  Duke  of  Milan,  to  whom  he  is  enumerat- 
ing his  numerous  inventions.  In  the  opposite 
lunette  Volta  is  seen  explaining  his  electric  pile 
to  the  members  of  the  French  Institute,  Napoleon 
and  Lagrange  being  prominent  amongst  the  spec- 
tators. The  corresponding  paintings  in  the  hall 
represent  (i)  Galileo  in  Pisa  proving  the  law  of 
descent  of  falling  bodies  by  experiments  on  an 
inclined  plane,  and  (2)  Viviani,  Borelli,  and  Redi 
showing  to  the  Grand  Duke  the  apparent  (but  to 
them  real)  reflection  of  cold  by  a  parabolic  mirror. 
A  thermometer  is  seen  in  the  focus  of  the  mirror, 
and  a  block  of  ice  is  used  as  the  source  of  cold. 

416  CONCLUSION  [1642 

On  the  pilasters  are  fourteen  white  marble 
medallions  of  members  of  the  Accademia  del 
Cimento,  and  other  distinguished  Italian  scientists. 
And  on  pedestals  in  the  vestibule  are  busts  of  the 
Grand  Duke,  Ferdinando  II. ,  the  friend  of  Galileo, 
and  a  patron  of  science ;  of  Prince  Leopoldo,  his 
brother,  also  a  great  friend  of  Galileo,  and  founder 
of  the  Accademia  del  Cimento ;  of  Grand  Duke 
Pietro  Leopoldo  I.,  founder  of  the  Museum  of 
Physics  and  Natural  History ;  and  of  Grand  Duke 
Leopoldo  II.,  under  whose  auspices  the  temple  of 
Galileo  was  erected.  Scattered  over  the  vaulted 
roofs  or  ceilings  are  ten  small  paintings,  emblematic 
of  nature,  truth,  perseverance,  physics,  philosophy, 
astronomy,  geometry,  mathematics,  hydraulics,  and 

On  the  floor  of  the  hall,  on  stands,  are  four 
instruments  of  great  size:  a  brass  astrolabe;  an 
odometer  or  distance-measurer ;  a  movable  dial  by 
Rinaldini,  mounted  in  walnut,  with  a  Tychonic 
scale  in  brass ;  and  the  great  crystal  lens  of  Bregans 
of  Dresden,  with  which  Averani  and  Targioni- 
Tozzetti,  and,  many  years  later,  our  own  Sir  Hum- 
phrey Davy  made  experiments  on  the  combustion 
of  the  diamond  and  other  precious  stones.  Finally, 
in  large  glass  cases,,  lining  the  walls  of  the  hall  and 
vestibule,  are  preserved  the  most  interesting  speci- 
mens of  the  instruments,  etc.,  belonging  to  the 
famous  Accademia  del  Cimento,  such  as  thermo- 
meters, barometers,  hygrometers,  gravity-meters, 
globes  for  experiments  on  the  compressibility  of 
water,  telescopes  by  Torricelli,  Viviani,  and  other 
early  Italian  makers;  and  collections  of  chemical 


(beautiful  specimens  of  Florentine  glass-work),  astro- 
nomical, nautical,  and  geodetic  apparatus.1 

In  1864,  the  tercentenary  of  Galileo's  birth  was 
celebrated  at  Pisa,  in  a  way  which,  if  the  news  could 
have  reached  him,  would  have  gone  far  to  make 
amends  for  her  ill-treatment  in  the  flesh  of  her  most 
famous  graduate  and  professor.2 

On  ;th  December  1892,  a  far  more  imposing 
ceremony  took  place  in  Padua,  to  commemorate  the 
three-hundredth  anniversary  of  Galileo's  first  lecture 
in  that  renowned  seat  of  learning.  We  base  the 
following  account  of  this  historical  function  on  an 
article  in  "  Nature/'  22nd  December  1892. 

"  On  6th  December,  the  rector,  Professor  C.  F. 
Ferraris,  received  in  one  of  the  courts  of  the  old 
University  (adorned  everywhere  with  portraits  of 
the  most  illustrious  professors)  delegates  from  the 
universities,  the  polytechnic  schools,  and  Italian 
and  foreign  academies,  amounting  to  nearly  a 
hundred,  and  among  them  many  who  shed  most 
lustre  on  contemporary  science.  The  University 
of  Cambridge  was  represented  by  Professor  George 
Howard  Darwin,  F.R.S.,  who  also  represented  the 
Royal  Society,  as  Mr  Norman  Lockyer,  its 
delegate,  had  been  prevented  from  attending.  The 
University  of  Oxford  by  Professor  E.  J.  Stone ; 

1  At  the  foot  of  the  stairs  leading  to  the  Tribune  is  a  fine  statue  of 
Torricelli  in  white  marble,  but  it  is  practically  hidden  in  a  small 
sombre  recess.  Surely  the  Museum  authorities  could  find  a  more 
suitable  place. 

z  See  "  II  terzo  Centenario  di  Galileo,"  by  Professor  Benedetti,  Pisa, 
1864,  or  Giornale  di  Pisa,  2ist  February  1864.  On  2nd  October  1839, 
a  fine  marble  statue  of  Galileo,  by  Emilio  Demi,  was  unveiled  in  the 
University.  The  figure,  larger  than  life,  is  sitting,  in  professor's  gown, 
and  holds  a  globe  in  the  left  hand-  A  partly  unrolled  scroll  (showing 
astronomical  figures)  rests  on  the  knee,  and  the  right  hand  is  slightly 
extended  as  if  in  the  act  of  demonstrating. 

2  D 

4i8  CONCLUSION  [1642 

the  Royal  College  of  Physicians,  London,^  by  Sir 
Joseph  Fayrer,  F.R.S.  ;  the  Chemical  Society  and 
British  Association  by  Professor  Ludwig  Mond, 
F.R.S. ;  the  Harvard  University,  Cambridge, 
U.S.A.,  by  Professor  William  James,  and  the 
Princeton  University  by  Professor  Allan  Marquand. 

"  The  great  academical  celebration  took  place  on 
7th  December  in  the  large  hall  of  the  University, 
in  the  presence  of  Signor  Ferdinando  Martini, 
Minister  of  Public  Instruction,  who  represented  the 
King  of  Italy.  The  ceremony  was  begun  with  a 
discourse,  prepared  for  the  occasion,  by  the  rector 
magnifico,  and  devoted  principally  to  a  cordial 
expression  of  thanks  to  the  king  and  to  the'  minister 
who  represented  him;  to  the  foreign  and  Italian 
delegates ;  and  to  the  ladies  of  Padua,  who  had 
given  the  University  a  most  beautiful  banner,  on 
which  were  various  emblems  indicating  the  history 
of  the  University,  the  genealogical  tree  of  the 
Galilei  family,  and  the  ancient  inscription  above 
the  door  of  the  University — Gymnasium  omnium 

"  Next  came  the  commemoration  of  Galileo  by 
Professor  Antonio  Favaro,  who  has  for  nearly 
fifteen  [now  twenty-five]  years  devoted  himself, 
almost  exclusively,  to  the  study  of  the  life  and 
works  of  Galileo,  and  to  whom  was  confided  by 
the  government  the  care  of  the  national  edition  of 
the  philosopher's  works,  under  the  auspices  of  the 
King  of  Italy.  The  orator  kept  his  discourse 
within  the  limits  marked  out  for  him,  speaking 
chiefly  of  Galileo  at  Padua.  Constrained  to  leave 
the  University  of  Pisa  Galileo  had  been  welcomed 
in  that  of  Padua,  where  he  found  the  'natural 
home  of  his  mind — a  theatre  worthy  of  his  talents.' 
The  conditions  at  Padua  at  that  time  were  eminently 
favourable  to  Galileo's  work,  for  the  Venetian 
senate  granted  the  lecturers  the  utmost  liberty,  and 


experimental  methods,  which  could  not  be  learned 
from  books,  had  been  practised  at  the  University 
for  more  than  a  century.  Galileo  had  many 
opportunities  for  the  development  of  his  genius, 
both  in  the  lecture-room  and  in  the  home,  in  the 
preparation  of  scientific  publications,  and  in  the 
workshops  of  scientific  instrument-makers  both  in 
Padua  and  Venice.  To  Venice  he  frequently  went, 
attracted  by  the  means  it  afforded  him  for  study ;  by 
that  grand  Arsenal,  which  had  already  been  sung  by 
Dante,  and  which  in  his  famous  Dialogues  is  spoken 
of  by  Galileo  with  admiration ;  but,  above  all,  by 
the  advantages  he  derived  from  scientific  inter- 
course with  eminent  men  who  resided  in  the  lagoon 
city.  The  culminating  point  of  the  discourse  was 
naturally  reached  when  the  orator  had  to  deal  with 
the  invention  of  the  telescope,  and  with  the 
astronomical  discoveries  made  by  means  of  it,  the 
immediate  result  of  which  was  the  recall  of  Galileo 
to  Tuscany.  This  did  not  aid  him  in  his  glorious 
career,  or  help  to  protect  him  from  the  attacks 
which  were  for  a  long  time  made  on  him  by 
invidious  adversaries.  Even  some  of  his  own 
friends  changed  at  once  to  implacable  and 
dangerous  enemies,  and  at  last  he  was  involved  in 
all  the  miseries  which  sprang  from  the  memorable 
trial  before  the  Inquisition  in  Rome.  This  led  the 
orator  to  recall  the  fact  that,  when  the  clouds 
assumed  their  most  threatening  aspect,  the  Venetian 
republic,  forgetting  with  real  magnanimity  what- 
ever resentment  it  might  have  felt  at  Galileo's 
abandonment  of  his  chair  at  Padua,  offered  to 
reappoint  him,  and  to  print  at  Venice  the  work 
which  had  brought  upon  him  so  much  trouble. 

«  After  Professor  Favaro's  oration,  discourses 
were  delivered  by  the  foreign  delegates,  Holmgren, 
Fayrer,  Darwin,  Tisserand,  Lampe,  Keller, 
Foerster,  Sohncke,  Biasing,  Lemcke,  Farey, 

420  CONCLUSION  [l642 

Lanczy,  Schmourlo,  and  by  Italian  delegates, 
Nardi-Dei,  Mantovani-Orsetti,  and  Del  Lungo. 
Then  followed  the  conferring  of  University 
honours,  of  which  seven  had  been  set  apart  by 
the  council  for  seven  men  of  science,  one  for  each 
nation,  all  distinguished  for  their  devotion  to  the 
studies  in  which  Galileo  excelled,  viz.,  Schiaparelli, 
Helmholtz,  Thomson,  Newcomb,  Tisserand, 
Bredichir,  and  Gylden.  The  degree  of  philo- 
sophy and  letters  was  given  to  the  Minister 
Martini ;  of  natural  philosophy,  and  of  philosophy 
and  letters,  to  the  leading  delegates.  The  ceremony 
was  closed  by  the  inauguration  of  a  commemorative 
tablet  in  the  large  hall. 

"  Of  the  other  festivities  connected  with  the 
celebration  it  would  be  out  of  place  to  speak 
here,  and  it  will  be  better  to  add  a  list  of  the 
publications  which  were  issued  on  the  occasion. 
The  oration  read  in  the  great  hall  by  Professor 
Favaro  has  been  published,  with  the  addition  of 
twenty-five  facsimiles  of  documents  comprising 
the  various  decrees  of  the  senate  concerning 
Galileo ;  several  autographic  records  of  Galileo, 
chosen  in  order  to  give  a  more  exact  idea  of 
what  are  the  most  precious  materials  for  his 
biography;  the  frontispieces  of  the  various 
publications  issued  by  Galileo,  and  relating  to  the 
time  of  his  sojourn  in  Padua ;  the  geometric  and 
military  compass  ;  the  writing  presenting  the  tele- 
scope to  the  Doge;  and  the  first  observations  of 
the  satellites  of  Jupiter.  A  portrait  of  the  great 
philosopher,  from  a  painting  which  represents  him 
at  the  age  of  forty,  taken  in  1604,  is  prefixed. 

<l  By  favour  of  the  University,  there  have  also 
been  published  two  other  works,  one  containing 
all  the  notices  of  the  studies  at  Padua  in  1592, 
the  other  proving  which  was  the  house  inhabited 
by  Galileo  and  the  place  in  which  he  made  his 


astronomical  observations.  The  ancient  Academy 
of  Padua,  among  whose  founders  Galileo  is 
numbered,  has  issued  a  publication  in  which  are 
collected  several  works  dedicated  to  his  memory ; 
and  the  students  of  the  University  have  sought 
to  perpetuate  the  remembrance  of  this  festival  by 
the  publication  of  a  'unique  number/  bringing 
together  all  the  documents  relating  to  the  sojourn 
of  Galileo  in  Padua.  These  publications  will  serve 
as  suitable  memorials  of  a  great  and  most  interesting 


IN  the  last  years  of  his  life,  Galileo  was  anxious  to  have 
a  complete  edition  of  his  works  brought  out  in  Latin,  so 
as  to  be  accessible  to  students  of  all  nations.  As  we 
have  already  had  occasion  to  show,  this  was  impossible 
in  Italy,  owing  to  the  most  stringent  orders  of  the  Pope 
against  the  publication  of  any  of  his  works,  edita  et  edenda 
— an  order  which  was  only  partially  relaxed  many  years 
after  his  death.  Thus,  we  have  seen  incidentally  that  in 
February  1635,  Fra  Fulgenzio  Micanzio  was  prohibited  by 
the  local  Inquisitor  from  bringing  out  in  Venice  a  reprint 
of  the  treatise  "  On  Floating  Bodies,"  which  does  not  in 
any  way  relate  to  the  Copernican  doctrine. 

As,  then,  the  presses  of  Italy  were  closed  against  him, 
Galileo  had  to  look  abroad  for  a  publisher.  In  this  way 
negotiations  were  opened,  first  about  1635,  with  Pierre 
Carcavi,  a  distinguished  mathematician  and  litterateur  of 
Paris,  on  the  occasion  of  his  visit  to  Florence  ;  and  two 
years  later,  with  the  Elzevirs  of  Leyden,  through  the 
intermediary  of  Micanzio  in  Venice.  But,  after  much 
correspondence,  and  the  translation  into  Latin  of  many 
pieces,  these  attempts  fell  through,  one  after  the  other, 
and  for  no  reason  that  we  can  now  know. 

Von  Gebler,  who  is  usually  very  accurate,  says  (p.  281, 
"Galileo  and  the  Roman  Curia")  that  before  August  1636, 
the  Dialogues  of  1632  had  been  translated  into  English,  to 
the  great  delight  of  their  author.  If  by  this  he  means 
published,  he  must  be  mistaken,  for  the  first  English 
translations  of  the  famous  Dialogues  and  a  few  other 
pieces  printed  and  published  in  England  were  those  of 


Thomas  Salusbury  in  1661-65,  as  noted  in  the  "  List  of 
Works  Consulted  "  which  is  appended  to  this  bibliography. 
Galileo  does  not  appear  to  have  had  any  regular  corre- 
spondents in  England,  for,  amongst  the  thousands  of 
letters  in  his  Carteggio^  there  exists  only  one  from  George 
Fortescue1;  but  Hobbes,  Milton,  and,  probably,  other 
English  travellers,  were,  of  course,  able  to  give  him  the 
gratifying  news  that  his  works  were  largely  read  in 
England  ;  as,  indeed,  we  now  know  from  other  indications. 
Thus,  Tobie  Matthew,  writing  to  Bacon  from  Brussels, 
2ist  April  1616,  refers  to  the  polemical  letter  of  1613  to 
Castelli;  and  in  another  letter,  dated  I4th  April  1619,  he 
introduces  a  Mr  Richard  White  as  a  gentleman  lately 
returned  from  Florence,  where  he  had  seen  Galileo,  and 
had  obtained  copies  of  his  works,  "On  the  Tides," 
"  Sidereus  Nuncius,"  "  On  Sun-Spots,"  and  "  On  Floating 
Bodies" — all  of  which  the  writer  was  sending  on  to 

Amongst  the  British  Museum  MSS.  there  are  early 
English  translations  of  two  of  Galileo's  works  as  follows  : — 

Add.  MSS.  23,  139. — "Of  the  profit  which  is  drawen 
from  the  Art  Mechanique  and  its  Instruments ;  A  Tract 
of  Sign  Galileo  Galilei,  Florentine.  Raptim  ex  Italico 
in  Anglicum  sermonem  transfusum.  Novemb.  H,  1636, 
by  Mr  Robert  Payen."  This  is  evidently  a  translation  of 
the  "Scienza  Meccanica"  of  1594. 

Harl.  MSS.  6320.—"  The  Dialogues  of  Galileus,  etc., 
upon  the  two  Greatest  Systems  of  the  World,  etc.,  with  a 
dedicatory  preface,  and  an  explanatory  introduction  To 
the  Discreete  Reder."  This  MS.  bears  no  date,  only  the 
initials  W.  N.,  which  are  supposed  to  be  those  not  of  the 
translator  but  of  a  former  owner.8 

1  Dated  London,  i5th  October  1629.  Fortescue  wrote,  amongst 
other  things,  the  "Feriae  Academicae"  (London,  1630),  a  series  of 
essays  in  elegant  Latin,  in  one  of  which,  "  Astrologorum  Concessus," 
Galileo  and  his  friends,  Clavio  and  Griemberger,  are  the  speakers. 

3  Bacon  must  also  have  heard  a  great  deal  about  Galileo  from  his 
Venetian  correspondents,  Paolo  Sarpi  and  Fulgenzio  Micanzio. 

3  Galileo  may  have  heard  of  this  performance  through  Thomas 
Hobbes,  who  was  travelling  in  Italy  in  1635,  and  who  then  saw  the 
great  Florentine.  The  latter  probably  alludes  to  Hobbes  in  his  letter 


After  Galileo's  death,  Viviani,  then  hardly  twenty  years 
old,  resolved  to  carry  out  what  he  knew  to  be  the  ardent 
wish  of  his  master,  and  at  once  set  about  collecting  from 
relatives,  friends,  and  disciples  of  the  great  dead,  books, 
MSS.,  and  documents,  relating  in  any  way  to  his  subject. 
His  intention  was  to  publish  the  works  in  two  languages 
in  parallel  columns,  that  is  to  say,  to  give  a  Latin  version 
of  those  pieces  first  printed  in  Italian,  and  an  Italian 
version  of  those  which  originally  appeared  in  Latin.  The 
collection  was  to  be  preceded  by  a  comprehensive  Life, 
of  which  he  has  left  us  the  design — "  Life  of  Galileo,"  in  3 
books — I.  "From  Birth  to  Invention  of  the  Telescope"; 

II.  "From   the   Telescope  to  Death";    III.  "Habitudes, 
Maladies,  Sayings  and  Pastimes,  Doctrines  and  Unwritten 
Opinions,  Friends  and  Scholars,  Letters  of  Distinguished 
Men   to   Galileo,  Illustrations  from  his   Printed   Works." 
This  was  to  be  followed  by  the  Works,  in  4  volumes,  4to, 
in  Latin  and  Italian,  in  double  columns — I,  "  Astronomical 
Works";  II.  "Mechanical,  Physical,  Mathematical  Works"  ; 

III.  "Suspected  and  Prohibited  Works";  IV.  "Posthumous 
Works,  Collectanea,  and  Letters."     A  frontispiece  (copper- 
plate) was  to  be  prefixed  to  all  the  volumes  ;  and  portraits 
of  Galileo,  Salviati,  and  Sagredo,  were  to  be  given.1 

Owing  to  ill-health  and  various  obstacles,  chief  among 
them  being  the  ecclesiastical  prohibition  of  1633,  and  the 
still  active  opposition  of  the  Jesuits,  Viviani  was  never 
able  to  carry  out  his  great  design ;  but  through  all  his  life 

of  ist  December  1635  to  Micanzio,  in  which  he  says  : — "  In  the  last 
few  days  I  have  had  many  visitors  from  over  the  mountains,  and 
amongst  them  one  of  the  principal  men  of  England,  who  told  me  that 
my  unfortunate  Dialogues  had  been  translated  into  that  language." 
This  would  fix  the  date  of  the  above  MS.  at  some  time  prior  to  the 
middle  of  1634,  the  date  of  Hobbes'  departure  on  his  travels.  It 
would  also  go  to  show  that  the  translator  was  known  to  Hobbes. 
Who  was  he  ?  I  suggest  this  as  a  problem  for  "  Notes  and 

1  A  short  and  very  inaccurate  biography,  intended,  probably,  as  a 
rough  draft  of  the  contemplated  Life,  was  drawn  up  by  Viviani  in  the 
form  of  a  letter  to  Prince  Leopoldo  (afterwards  Cardinal)  de  Medici, 
dated  29th  April  1654.  It  was  published  for  the  first  time  in  Salvini's 
"  Fasti  Consolari  dell'  Accademia  Fiorentina,"  Florence,  1717- 


he  diligently  added  to  his  collection  of  the  printed  and 
MS.  remains  of  his  revered  master. 

Meanwhile  an  edition  of  Galileo's  works  appeared  in 
Bologna,  in  1655-56,  in  2  volumes,  ^.to.1  Although 
Viviani  supplied  the  editor  with  much  interesting  material 
hitherto  unpublished,  this  is  little  more  than  a  reproduction 
of  pieces  already  printed  separately,  with  two  notable 
exceptions,  viz.  the  polemical  letter  of  1615  to  the  Grand 
Duchess  Cristina  di  Lorena,  and  the  Dialogues  of  1632. 

At  Viviani's  death  (22nd  September  1703),  his  fine 
library  went  by  will  to  the  Hospital  of  Santa  Maria  in 
Campo,  Florence,  and  his  great  collection  of  Galilean 
remains,  the  result  of  sixty  years'  searching,  passed  into 
the  hands  of  his  nephew  and  heir,  the  Abbe  Jacopo 
Panzanini.  This  man,  ignorant  or  regardless  of  the  value 
of  his  inheritance,  made  no  attempt  to  utilise  it,  or  to  add 
to  it,  as  he  might  easily  have  done  in  those  days.  He 
appears  to  have  stowed  the  books  and  MSS.  away  in 
presses  or  cupboards,  allowing,  however,  the  use  of  them 
to  students,  some  of  whom,  it  is  sad  to  say,  forgot  to 
return  what  they  had  borrowed.  Thus,  Tommaso  Buona- 
venturi  and  Benedetto  Bresciani,  the  editors  of  the  first 
Florentine  edition,  were  great  sinners  in  this  respect.2 
Their  sin  would,  perhaps,  not  be  so  great  had  they  made 
better  use  of  the  materials  placed  at  their  disposal.  There 
is  no  order  or  method  in  the  arrangement,  and  their  work 
is  in  other  respects  imperfect ;  not  only  are  the  Dialogues 
of  1632  and  other  pieces  banned  by  the  Inquisition 
omitted,  but  some  of  those  which  are  included  are  not 
published  in  their  integrity. 

A  better  edition  was  brought  out  in  Padua  in  I/44.3 
Here  also  many  pieces,  already  published,  are  omitted, 
but  the  Dialogues  of  1632  are  given  "with  ecclesiastical 
permission/'  The  editor,  however,  appears  to  have  been 

1  "  Opere  di  Galileo,  etc.      In    questa  nuova   editione  insieme 
raccolte,  e  di  varii  trattati  non  pm  stampati  accresciute." 

2  "  Opere  di  Galileo,  etc.    Coll'  Aggiunta  di  vari  trattati  non  piu 
dati  alle  stampe."    3  vols.  4to.    Florence,  1718. 

3  "Opere  di  Galileo,  etc,    Accresciute  di   Molte  Cose  Inedite." 
4  vols.  4to.    Padua,  1744. 


obliged  to  prefix  some  saving  clauses.  The  sentence  of 
1633  and  Galileo's  abjuration  are  reprinted,  and  are 
followed  by  a  declaration  that  the  theory  of  the  double 
motion  of  the  earth  can  and  must  be  regarded  only  as  a 
mathematical  hypothesis  to  facilitate  the  explanation  of 
certain  natural  phenomena.  Then  follows,  for  greater 
security  I  suppose,  Father  Calmet's  essay,1  in  which  the 
Scriptural  passages  relating  to  the  order  of  the  world 
ought,  presumably,  to  be  interpreted  in  the  orthodox 
fashion.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  however,  the  learned  Father's 
line  of  argument  differs  little  from  that  of  Galileo.  He 
seeks  to  show  that  the  Bible  does  not  propound  any 
astronomical  system  whatever;  that  if  it  does,  it  is  the 
popular  cosmography  of  the  Hebrews,  from  which  it  often 
borrows  expressions  or  images,  but  without  guaranteeing 
their  accuracy ;  that  this  cosmography  is  scientifically 
untenable,  and,  moreover,  differs  essentially  from  that  of 
Ptolemy  and  the  Peripatetics,  and,  therefore,  people  have 
no  right  to  invoke  the  Scriptures  in  support  of  the  latter. 
In  fact,  in  the  first  centuries  of  Christianity,  the  Ptolemaic 
doctrine  of  a  round  earth  was  held  by  some  fanatics  as 
heretical,  being  opposed  to  the  Hebrew  and  Scriptural 
presentment  of  the  earth  as  a  plain  surface  over  which 
the  heavens  are  spread  in  tent  fashion. 

A  few  years  after  the  appearance  of  the  Paduan 
edition  an  accident  befell  the  Galilean  papers,  from  which 
they,  or  rather  what  remained  of  them,  were  saved  by,  so  to 
speak,  a  miracle.  The  story  is  told  by  Professor  Giovanni 
Targioni-Tozzetti  in  his  "Notizie  degli  Aggrandimenti 
delle  Scienze  Ffsiche  in  Toscana"  (Florence,  1780),  and 
by  Nelli  in  his  "  Vita  e  Commercio  Letterario  di  Galileo 
Galilei J>  (Lausanne,  1793). 

In  the  spring  of  1750,  the  celebrated  Dr  Giovanni 
Lami,  Keeper  of  the  Riccardian  Library  in  Florence, 
going  one  day,  according  to  his  wont,  to  lunch  with  some 
friends  in  the  suburbs  (at  the  "Osteria  del  Ponte  alle 
Mosse  "),  and  passing  through  the  market-place,  suggested 

1  "Dissertation  sur  le  Systeme  du  Monde  des  Anciens  He'breux." 
Paris,  1720. 


to  Gio.  Battista  Nelli  (his  companion)  to  procure  a  Bologna 
sausage  from  the  shop  of  Cioci,  a  pork-butcher  then  noted 
for  his  wares.  Nelli  did  so,  and  brought  away  the  purchase 
wrapped  in  an  old  MS.  paper.  Arrived  at  the  tavern,  he 
called  for  a  plate,  and,  unrolling  his  sausage,  remarked 
that  the  wrapper  was  a  letter  in  Galileo's  handwriting! 
Suppressing  his  surprise  as  well  as  he  could,  he  cleaned 
the  paper  and  put  it  into  his  pocket,  without  saying  a 
word  to  Lami.  After  returning  to  the  city,  Nelli  got  rid 
of  his  friend,  and  flew  to  the  pork-seller's  shop,  where  he 
learnt  that  a  servant,  whom  the  proprietor  did  not  know, 
brought  him  from  time  to  time  similar  writings  which  he 
bought  by  weight  as  waste  paper.  Nelli  purchased  all 
that  he  then  had,  and,  after  watching  for  several  days  the 
return  of  the  unknown  domestic  with  another  bundle,  had 
at  last  the  good  fortune  to  meet  him,  and  to  learn  the 
quarter  whence  the  papers  came.  This  was  no  other  than 
Viviani's  house  in  Via  delF  Amore  [now  Via  San  Antonino] 
then  occupied  by  Carlo  and  Angelo  Panzanini,  nephews 
and  heirs  of  the  Abbe,  who  died  in  1733.  After  some 
judicious  enquiries  Nelli  found  that  it  was  the  brothers 
Panzanini  themselves  who  were  guilty  of  the  atrocity  of 
selling  from  time  to  time  bundles  of  these  precious  papers, 
and  with  a  little  management  he  procured  what  remained 
in  their  hands  for  the  sum  of  eighty-eight  scudi  (about 
£20).  These  comprised  a  great  number  of  MSS.  of 
Galileo,  Viviani,  Torricelli,  and  Borelli,  and  a  number  of 
mathematical  instruments  belonging  to  Viviani.  At  .the 
same  time  he  became  the  possessor  of  the  emerald  ring 
which  Prince  Cesi  gave  to  Galileo  on  his  election  as  a 
member  of  the  Accademia  dei  Lincei  in  1611,  and  a 
collection  of  designs  by  the  most  celebrated  architects 
of  Italy. 

To  this  important  acquisition  so  extraordinarily  brought 
about,  Nelli  added,  in  1754,  a  number  of  portraits  of 
eminent  mathematicians,  forming  part  of  the  collection 
made  by  Viviani,  another  part  of  which  came,  at  about 
the  same  time,  into  the  hands  of  the  astronomer,  Perelli. 
It  would  seem  that  the  Panzaninis  had  sold  these  many 


years  previously,  besides  a  great  number  of  Galileo's  MSS., 
books  full  of  marginal  annotations  in  his  autograph,  and 
letters  from  his  correspondents.  Most  of  these  were 
purchased,  either  directly  from  the  Panzaninis,  or  from 
third  parties,  by  Felici,  Cocchi,  Capponi,  Nelli  (in  1754), 
and  more  recently  by  Campori.  Ultimately  all  these 
collections  were  acquired  by  the  Tuscan  Government,  and, 
with  the  nucleus  which  already  existed,  gathered  from 
Florentine  libraries  and  from  other  public  and  private 
sources,  now  form  the  grand  collection  of  Galilean  books 
and  MSS.  in  the  Biblioteca  Nazionale  in  Florence.  It  is 
comprised  in  some  303  large  volumes,  and  arranged  under 
five  heads  or  classes  as  follows  : — 

1.  Before  the  time  of  Galileo  10  vols. 

2.  MSS.  of  Galileo        .        .  86  vols. 

3.  Contemporaries  of  Galileo  1 1  vols. 

4.  Disciples  of  Galileo  .        .  148  vols. 

5.  After  the  time  of  Galileo  48  vols. 

Besides  this  collection,  Professor  Favaro,  the  learned 
Director  of  the  new  edition  of  Galileo's  Works  now  in 
course  of  publication,  has  catalogued  over  1200  MSS. 
and  documents  relating  to  Galileo  (many  of  which  are 
his  autographs)  dispersed  in  the  public  and  private  libraries 
of  Europe.1 

Notwithstanding  the  zeal  and  industry  of  collectors, 
many  of  Galileo's  papers  and  letters  are  missing.  Some 
of  these  are  mentioned  in  pp.  37,  120,  156,  194,  ante, 
to  which  we  may  now  add  the  loss  of  his  later  notes  on 
(i)  "The  Mechanical  Problems  of  Aristotle,"  and  (2)  "On 
the  Movements  of  Animals,"  on  which  he  was  engaged 
only  a  short  time  before  his  fatal  illness.  No  doubt  many 
valuable  papers  were  lost  through  the  sordid  action  of  the 
Panzaninis,  and  Viviani  tells  us  that  others  were  destroyed 
by  Galileo's  grandson,  Cosimo,  who  conceived  that  in  so 

1  "  Material!  per  un  Indice  dei  MSS.  e  Document!  Galileiani  non 
posseduti  dalla  Biblioteca  Nazionale  di  Firenze."  Raccolti  per  cura 
di  Antonio  Favaro,  Venice,  1894. 


doing  he  was  offering  up  a  proper  sacrifice  before  devoting 
himself  to  the  life  of  a  missionary  priest1 

During  the  years  1808  to  1811  a  new  edition  of 
Galileo's  Works  appeared  in  Milan,  in  13  volumes,  8vo,  of 
which  it  is  only  necessary  to  say  that  the  first  12  volumes 
are  a  simple  reprint  of  the  Paduan  edition,  whilst  the 
1 3th  and  last  contains  matter  not  found  in  that  collection, 
it  is  true,  but  yet  nothing  that  had  not  been  published 
before.  Another  edition,  and  the  worst  of  all,  appeared 
in  Milan  in  1832,  and  forms  volumes  xx.  and  xxi.  of 
Bettoni's  "  Biblioteca  Enciclopedica  Italiana." 

The  more  recent  editions  of  Alberi  and  Favaro  are 
noted  in  detail  in  the  "List  of  Works  Consulted" 
subjoined  to  this  notice. 

A  bibliography  would  not  be  complete  without  a 
reference  to  the  extraordinary  collection  of  forged  docu- 
ments, with  which  the  French  Academy  of  Sciences  was 
convulsed  in  the  years  1867-1869.  They  were  acquired 
by  Michel  Chasles,  a  member  of  the  Academy,  and  by 
him  presented  to  that  body  in  batches.  They  consisted 
of  letters  and  documents  bearing  the  names  of  Galileo, 
Viviani,  Pascal,  Newton,  Milton,  Huygens,  Louis  XIV., 
and  other  well-known  persons  of  the  period;  and  they 
went  to  show,  amongst  other  startling  things,  (i)  that 
Pascal  borrowed  from  Galileo  the  idea  of  universal 
gravitation,  and  that  Newton  in  his  turn  borrowed  from 
both,  without  acknowledgments ;  and  (2)  that  Galileo's 
blindness  was  feigned  in  order  to  induce  the  Inquisition 
authorities  to  relax  their  surveillance ;  and  that  he  really 
became  blind  only  a  short  time  before  death. 

The  briefest  rteumt  of  these  papers  will  suffice  here, 
as  the  curious  reader  will  find  them,  and  the  discussions 
to  which  they  gave  rise,  fully  reported  in  the  Comptes 

1  Professor  Favaro  thinks  there  is  little  or  no  foundation  for  this 
charge,  and  concludes,  after  reviewing  the  evidence,  that  if  Cosimo 
did  burn  any  papers  of  his  grandfather,  they  were  such  as  were  of  no 
importance,  and  of  which  Viviani  already  had  copies,  or,  and  this  is 
the  more  likely,  they  were  his  own  youthful  lucubrations  of  which  his 
later  and  ascetic  temper  could  not  approve. 


Rendus  for  the  years  mentioned,  and  the  history  of  the 
forgeries  in  Bordier  and  Mabille's  "  Une  Fabrique  de 
Faux  Autographes,  ou  R6cit  de  1' Affaire  Vrain  Lucas,"1 

It  would  appear  from  these  documents  that  in  the  last 
years  of  his  life,  Galileo  discovered  a  satellite  of  Saturn 
and  made  other  astronomical  observations,  which,  with 
some  found  in  Kepler's  MSS.  (which  had  come  into 
Galileo's  hands),  exceeded  in  extent  and  accuracy  the 
subsequent  observations  of  Cassini,  Bradley,  and  Pound, 
and  of  which  Newton  availed  himself  in  1725,  in  the  third 
and  perfected  edition  of  his  "  Principia."  Furthermore : 
Galileo  had  deduced  theoretically,  from  Kepler's  Second 
Law,  that  the  reciprocal  attraction  of  the  heavenly  bodies 
ought  to  be  in  the  inverse  ratio  of  the  squares  of  the 
distances.  He  communicated  this  discovery,  as  also  his 
latest  astronomical  observations  and  those  of  Kepler,  to 
Pascal,  and  upon  these  materials  the  latter  based  his 
Celestial  Mechanics,  including  the  calculation  of  the 
planetary  masses,  and  wrote  a  treatise  on  the  subject,  a 
copy  of  which  he  sent  to  Galileo  in  1641. 

In  1652,  Boyle  put  Pascal  in  communication  with 
Newton  [then  of  the  mature  age  of  ten  years !],  and  in 
1654,  Pascal  communicated  to  Boyle  and  Newton  the 
aforesaid  observations  of  Galileo  and  Kepler,  together 
with  his  own  Celestial  Mechanics,  and  calculations  of  the 
planetary  masses.  In  1687,  Newton  published  (in  the 
"  Principia ")  Pascal's  work  as  his  own,  but  spoilt  it  by 
the  employment  of  data  less  accurate  than  those  of 
Galileo  and  Kepler,  of  which,  indeed,  he  made  no  use 
until  1725  (as  stated  above),  or  seventy-one  years  after 
receiving  them  ;  and  then,  instead  of  mentioning  Galileo 
and  Kepler,  to  whom  he  was  really  indebted,  he  quoted 
the  work  of  later  astronomers  who  had  arrived  at  similar 
results.  The  communications  made  to  Newton  by  Pascal, 
and  Newton's  usurpation  of  them  were  facts  known  to 
many  scientific  men  in  France  and  England  ;  but  nothing 
was  said  about  them  until  Newton  had  committed  a 

1  Paris,   1870.     On  the  forgeries  of  Vrain    Lucas   is   founded 
Alphonse  Daudet's  novel,  "  L'lmmortel," 


further  imprudence.  In  a  letter  to  Huygens  he  appears 
to  have  used  some  disdainful  language  abouf  Pascal; 
Huygens  thereupon  brought  the  whole  matter  before  the 
French  Academy  of  Sciences,  that  jealous  body  com- 
plained to  Louis  XIV.,  who  in  his  turn  complained  to 
James  II.  of  England.  The  result  was  that  Newton 
withdrew  his  defamatory  remarks,  Louis  XIV.  expressed 
his  gratitude  to  Newton  (to  whom,  strange  to  say,  was 
left  all  the  glory  which  belonged  to  Pascal  and  Galileo), 
and  everybody  was  content!  The  affair  was  hushed  up, 
and  soon  entirely  forgotten,  until  revived  by  the  publication 
of  M.  Chasles'  wondrous  "  find."  So  much  for  the  Galileo- 
Pascal-Newton  story. 

As  regards  the  fable  of  Galileo's  blindness,  it  would 
seem,  from  his  letters  and  those  of  Viviani,  Milton,  and 
others,  that  his  sight  became  enfeebled  only  in  1637-38  ; 
that  up  to  September  1641  he  was  able  to  read  and  write, 
and  only  complained  of  fatigue  of  the  eyes ;  and  that  he 
became  totally  blind  only  towards  the  end  of  1641,  that  is, 
a  few  weeks  before  death.  Galileo,  who,  probably,  never 
wrote  a  line  in  French,  is  made  to  say,  in  a  letter  of 
28th  November  1639,  to  Louis  XIII.  of  France: — 

"Du  reste  je  veux  bien  assurer  Vostre  Majest6  que, 
quoique  ce  soit  pour  moy  une  grande  privation  de  ne 
pouvoir  continuer  mes  observations  astronomiques,  je 
commence  a  my  resigner,  et  je  m'estime  encore  heureux 
qu'a  mon  age,  et  apres  tant  de  tribulations,  je  puisse  encore 
lire  et  escrire,  ce  qui  est  pour  moy  une  grande  satisfaction. 
Quant  a  certains  propos  que  des  gens  tiennent  et  font 
circuler  a  cet  egard,  je  ne  cherche  nullement  a  les 
d6mentir,  d'autant  plus  que  c'est  un  moyen  d'estre 
moms  obsed£  par  mes  ennemis,  c'est  &  dire,  par  les 
Inquisiteurs,  qui  ne  cessoint  de  me  faire  surveiller.  Nous 
nous  sommes  mesme  servi  du  pr^texte  de  c<£cit£  pour 
qu'on  me  laisse  plus  en  repos  et  &  moy  mesme." 

As  to  this  fable,  there  are  two  well-established  facts, 
which  would  seem  to  lend  it  some  little  support — (i)  It 
is  certain  that  Galileo's  blindness  was  due  to  glaucoma. 
(2)  In  recent  years  a  letter  of  Alberto  Galilei  (nephew)  to 


Galileo,  dated  igth  April  1640,  has  been  brought  to  light, 
from  which  it  would  appear  that  towards  the  end  of 
1639  Galileo  had  recovered  somewhat  the  use  of  his  eyes, 
Professor  Favaro,  however,  says  (and  there  can  be  no  better 
judge)  that,  in  all  probability,  the  passage  is  either  an 
equivoque,  or  a  question  of  being  able  to  distinguish,  more 
or  less,  the  day  from  the  night.1 

1  "  Galileo  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste,"  p.  221. 


Le  Opere  di  GALILEO  GALILEI,  prima  edizione  completa,1  con- 
dotta  sugli  autentici  manoscritti  palatini,  e  dedicata  a  S,  A.  I.  e  R. 
Leopoldo  II  granduca  di  Toscana, — Firenze,  societa  editrice  fioren- 
tina^  1 842- 1856.  Tomi  XV e  uno  di  supflemento. 

Patrono  dell'  edizione  :  S.  A.  I.  e  R.  il  granduca  LEOPOLDO  II. 

Direttore :  EUGENIO  ALBERT. 

Coadiutore  :  CELESTINO  BIANCHI,  per  i  primi  sette  volumi. 

Tomo  primo  (1842). 

Lettera  dedicatoria  a  S.  A.  I.  e  R.  il  granduca  Leopoldo  II, 
patrono  dell'  edizione. 

Prefazione  generale. 

Dialogo  dei  due  massimi  sistemi  del  mondo,  tolemaico  e 

Tomo  secondo  (1843). 

Prefazione  con  elenco  ragionato  degli  oppositori  al  sistema 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  a  lacopo  Mazzoni,  del  30  maggio  1597. 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  al  p.e  Benedetto  Castelli  del  21  dicembre 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  a  monsignor  Dini  del  16  febbraio  1614 
ab  inc. 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  al  medesimo  del  23  marzo  1614  ab  inc. 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  alia  granduchessa  Cristina  di  Lorena 
del  1615. 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  a  Francesco  Ingoli,  nella  primavera 
del  1624. 

Esercitazioni  filosofiche  di  ANTONIO  Rocco  intorno  al  dialogo 
dei  massimi  sistemi. 

1  This  is  by  no  means  a  complete,  or  even,  so  far  as  it  goes,  an  accurate, 
presentation  of  Galileo's  works  and  writings.  This  can  be  seen  by  comparing 
it  with  Favaro's  national  edition,  now  in  course  of  publication,  and  of  which 
twelve  out  of  twenty  volumes  have  already  appeared. 


Postille  di  GALILEO  alle  suddette  esercitazioni. 
Discorso  di  LODOVICO  DELLE  COLOMBE  contro  al  moto  della 

Postille  di  GALILEO  al  suddetto  discorso. 
Discorso  sopra  il  flusso  e  reflusso  del  mare. 

Tomo  terzo  (1843). 

Trattato  della  sfera  o  cosmografia. 
Sidereus  Nuncius. 

Lettere  intorno  alle  apparenze  della  Luna. 
De  phaenomenis  in  orbe  Lunae  etc.,  auctore  JULIO  CESARE 

Postille  di  GALILEO  all'  opera  suddetta, 
Lettere  intorno  alle  macchie  solari. 

Tomo  quarto  (1844). 

Ai  lettori. 

De  tribus  cometis  anni  1618  disputatio  astronomica,  publice 
habita  in  collegio  romano  societatis  Jesu  ab  uno  ex  patribus 
eiusdem  societatis. 

Discorso  delle  comete  di  MARIO  GUIDUCCI. 

Libra  astronomica  ac  philosophica  etc.,  auctore  LOTHARIO 
SARSIO  sigensano  [HORATIO  GRASSIO  salonensi], 

Postille  di  GALILEO  alia  Libra  astronomica. 

II  Saggiatore  di  GALILEO. 

Ratio  ponderum  librae  ac  simbellae  etc.,  auctore  LOTHARIO 

Postille  di  GALILEO  alia  suddetta  opera. 

Tomo  quinto  (Parte  prima,  1846). 

Alcuni  esemplari  hanno  la  prima  parte  del  tomo  quinto,  e  la  prima 
sezione  della  seconda  in  lingua  italiana,  altri  in  latino. 

Prefazione  di  EUGENIO  ALBERI  nella  quale  si  dimostra  che 
tutti  i  lavori  condotti  da  Galileo  intorno  i  Satelliti  di  Giove,  e 
che  da  due  secoli  si  reputavano  perduti,  esistono  fra  i  manoscritti 
galileiani  della  i.  e  r.  biblioteca  palatina  de'  Pitti. 

Tavole  dei  moti  medi  de'Satelliti  di  Giove  istituite  da  GA- 
LILEO ecc. 

Osservazioni  originali  e  calcoli  intorno  i  Satelliti  di  Giove. 


Giustificazioni  delle  lacune  che  si  riscontrano  tra  le  osserva- 
zioni  di  GALILEO  intorno  i  Satelliti  di  Giove. 
Calcoli  ed  effemeridi. 
Notae  conclusione. 

(Parte  seconda,  1853). 

Lavori  del  padre  RENIERI  intorno  ai  Satelliti  di  Giove. 

Le  operazioni  astronomiche  di  GALILEO. 

Frammenti  di  tre  lezioni  di  GALILEO  intorno  la  Stella  nuova 
del  1604. 

Frammenti  astronomici  di  GALILEO. 

KEPLERI  Dissertatio  in  Nuncium  sidereum. 

KEPLERI  NTarratio  de  observatis  a  se  Satellitibus  Jovis. 

KEPLERI  Periochae  ex  introduction  in  Martem. 

Lettera  del  p.  FOSCARINI  sul  sistema  copernicano. 

CAMPANELLAE  Apologia  pro  Galilaeo. 

Dissertazione  del  p.  CALMET  intorno  alia  cosmogonia  degli 

Lettera  di  MARIO  GUIDUCCI  al  p.  Galluzzi  intorno  le  comete. 

KEPLERI  Spicilegium  ex  trutinatore  Galilaei. 

Appendix  ad  spicilegium. 

KEPLERI  Admonitio  ad  bibliopolas. 

Discorso  di  A.  DE  FILIIS  sulle  Macchie  solari  di  Galileo. 

Tomo  ststo  a  decimo  (1847-1853). 

Contengono  un  avvertimento  e  1'epistolario,  composto  di  1376 
lettere,  dal  1588  al  1642,  diviso  in  due  parti.  La  prima  di  due 
volumi  (VI  e  VII,  1847-1848)  comprende  le  lettere  di  GALILEO 
che  sono  296.  L'altra  in  tre  volumi  (VIII,  IX,  e  X,  1851-1853) 
che  coruprende  le  lettere  a  lui  dirette^  in  numero  di  931,  e  fra 
terzi  a  lui  relative,  che  sono  149. 

Tomo  undecimo  (1854), 

Avvertimento  all1  opera  seguente. 
Sermon es  de  motu  gravium  di  GALILEO. 
Delia  scienza.  meccanica  di  GALILEO. 

NTote  e  proposizioni  intorno  le  meccaniche  di  VINCENZO 

Trattato  di  fortificazione  di  GALILEO  con  avvertimento. 


Le  operazioni  del  compasso  geometrico  e  militare  di  GALILEO 
con  avvertimento. 

Usus  et  fabrica  circini  proportionis  etc,  opera  et  studio  BAL- 

Difesa  di  GALILEO  contro  alle  calunnie  del  Capra. 

Tomo  duodecimo  (1854). 


Discorso  di  GALILEO  delle  cose  che  stanno  in  su  Pacqua  o 
che  in  quella  si  muovono. 

Lettera  di  TOLOMEO  NOZZOLINI  a  monsignor  Marzimedici 
nella  quale  si  pronmovono  alcune  difficolta  intorno  al  libro  di 

Lettera  di  GALILEO  al  Nozzolini  in  risoluzione  delle  accennate 

Discorso  apologetico  di  LODOVICO  DELLE  COLOMBE  intorno  al 
suddetto  discorso  dei  galleggianti  di  Galileo. 

Considerazioni  di  VINCENZO  DI  GRAZIA  intorno  al  medesimo 

Risposta  di  GALILEO,  sotto  nome  del  p.  Castelli,  alle  oppo- 
sizioni  di  Lodovico  delle  Colombe  e  di  Vincenzo  di  Grazia. 

Note  al  discorso  dei  galleggianti. 

Esperimenti  del  cav.  Gio.  BATTA  VENTURI  intorno  ai  gal- 

Tomo  tredicesimo  (1855). 


Discorsi  e  dimostrazioni  matematiche  intorno  a  due  nuove 
scienze  attinenti  alia  meccanica  ed  ai  movimenti  locali ;  altri- 
menti  detti  "  Dialoghi  delle  nuove  scienze." 

Tomo  quattordicesimo  (1855). 

Illustrazioni  del  VIVIANI  e  del  GRANDI  ai  Dialoghi  delle 
nuove  scienze. 

Trattato  delle  resistenze  principiato  da  VINCENZO  VIVIANI 
per  illustrare  le  opere  di  Galileo,  compiuto  e  riordinato  dal  p. 

Note  del  p.  GRANDI  al  trattato  del  moto  naturalmente 

Scienza  universale  delle  proporzioni,  spiegata  da  GALILEO 
nella  quinta  giornata,  con  nuovo  ordine  distesa  dal  VIVIANI. 


Componimenti  minori  e  frammenti  diversi  in  materie  scien- 
tifiche  di  GALILEO. 

La  bilancetta  ecc.  di  GALILEO. 

Note  del  MANTOVANI,  del  CASTELLI,  e  del  VIVIANI  alia 

Parere  sopra  una  macchina  per  alzare  acqua. 

Lettere  intorno  alia  stima  di  un  cavallo. 

Parere  intorno  all'  angolo  del  contatto. 

Considerazioni  sopra  il  giuoco  de3  dadi. 

Risposta  al  problema :  onde  avvenga  che  V  acqua  a  chl 
v'  entra  appaia  prima  fredda  e  poi  calda  pih  dell'  aria  temperata. 

Parere  su  di  una  macchina  da  pestare. 

Pensieri  sulla  confricazione. 

Awertenza  intorno  al  camminare  del  cavallo. 

Theorica  speculi  concavi  sphaerici. 

Problemi  vari. 

Pensieri  vari. 

DelF  oriuolo  a  pendolo,  lettera  di  VINCENZO  VIVIANI. 

Tomo  quindicesimo  (1856). 

Due  lezioni  di  GALILEO  intorno  alia  figura,  sito,  e  grandezza 
delP  Inferno  di  Dante  precedute  da  un  avvertimento  degli  editori. 

Postille  e  correzioni  all'  Orlando  furioso  precedute  da  un 
avvertimento  degli  editori. 

Considerazioni  alia  Gerusalemme  liberata. 

Due  lettere  a  Francesco  Rinuccini  nelle  quali  si  paragona  il 
Tasso  con  TAriosto, 

Discorso  di  GIUSEPPE  ISEO  sopra  il  poema  di  M.  Torquato 

Capitol  o  in  biasimo  della  toga. 

Quattro  sonetti. 

Abbozzo  di  una  commedia. 

Racconto  istorico  della  vita  di  Galileo  scritto  da  VINCENZO 

Bibliografia  Galileiana. 

Aggiunte  e  correzioni  a  diversi  volumi  della  collezione. 

Suppkmento  (1856). 


E.  ALBERI.  Esame  della  biografia  di  Galileo  scritta  da  F. 


Lettere  (186)  inedite  dirette  a  Galileo  dal  1592  al  1641,  fra 
le  quali  a  pag.  ir  una  di  GALILEO  all'  abate  Giugni  da  Venezia, 
ii  giugno  1605. 

Appendice  relativa  al  processo  di  Galileo. 

E.  ALBERI.  DelForologio  a  pendolo  di  Galileo  e  di  due 
recenti  divinazioni  del  meccanismo  da  lui  immaginato. 

Due  lettere  importantissime  di  GALILEO,  una  relativa  alia  sua 
condanna,  1'altra  ai  tentativi  da  lui  fatti  per  la  misura  della 

Le  Opere  di  Galileo  Galilei.  Edizione  Nazionale  sotto  gli 
auspicii  di  S.  M.  il  Re  d'ltalia. — Direttore,  Antonio  Favaro. 
Coadiutore  letterario,  Isidoro  del  Lungo.  Assistente  per  la  cura 
del  testo,  Umberto  Marchesini. — Consultori,  V.  Cerruti,  A. 
Genocchi  (>J<).  G.  Govi  (>f<).  G.  V.  Schiaparelli. — Firenze,  tip. 
G.  Barbera,  1890-1902.  .  .  . 

Volume  Primo  (1890). — luvenilia. — Theoremata  circa  cen- 
trum gravitatis  solidorum. — La  Bilancetta. — Tavola  delle  pro- 
porzioni  delle  gravita  in  specie  de  i  metalli  e  delle  gioie  pesate 
in  aria  e  in  aqqua. — Postille  ai  libri  de  sphaera  et  cylindro  di 
Archimede. — De  motu. 

Volume  Secondo  (1891). — Breve  instruzione  air  architettura 
militare. — Trattato  di  fortificazione. — Le  Mecaniche. — Lettera  a 
lacopo  Mazzoni. — Trattato  della  Sfera  owero  Cosmografia. — 
De  motu  accelerate. — Frammenti  di  lezioni  e  di  studi  sulla  nuova 
Stella  dell'  ottobre  1604. — Consideration  astronomica  circa  la 
Stella  nova  delP  anno  1604  di  Baldesar  Capra,  con  postille  di 
Galileo. — Dialogo  de  Cecco  di  Ronchitti  da  Bruzene  in  per- 
puosito  de  la  Stella  nuova. — Del  compasso  geometrico  e  militare  : 
saggio  delle  scritture  antecedenti  alia  stampa.— Le  operazioni 
del  compasso  geometrico  e  militare. — Usus  et  fabrica  circini 
cuiusdam  proportions,  opera  et  studio  Balthasaris  Caprae;  con 
postille  di  Galileo. — Difesa  contro  alle  calunnie  et  imposture  di 
Baldessar  Capra. — Le  matematiche  nelP  arte  militare. 

Volume  Terzo.  Parte  prima  (1892). — Sidereus  Nuncius. — 
loannis  Kepleri  Dissertatio  cum  Nuncio  Sidereo. — Martini 
Horky  Brevissima  peregrinatio  contra  Nuncium  sidereum. — 
Quatuor  problematum  contra  Nuncium  sidereum  confutatio  per 
loannem  Wodderbornium. — loannis  Kepleri  Narratio  de  obser- 
vatis  a  se  quatuor  lovis  satellitibus. — loannis  Antonii  Roffeni 
Epistola  apologetica  contra  peregrinationem  Martini  Horkii. — 


Dianoia  astronomica,  optica,  physica,  auctore  Francisco  Sitio; 
con  postille  di  Galileo. — Di  Ludovico  delle  Colombe  contro  il 
moto  della  terra;  con  postille  di  Galileo, — Nuntius  Sidereus 
Collegii  romani. — De  lunarium  montium  altitudine  problema 
mathematicum, — lulii  Caesaris  La  Galla  De  phaenomenis  in 
orbe  lunae  novi  telescopii  usu  nunc  iterum  suscitatis ;  con  postille 
di  Galileo. 

Volume  Quarto  (1894). — Diversi  fragmenti  attenenti  al  trattato 
delle  cose  che  stanno  su  1'acqua. — Discorso  intorno  alle  cose 
che  stanno  in  su  Tacqua  o  che  in  quella  si  muovono. — Considera- 
zioni  di  Accademico  Incognito;  con  postille  e  frammenti  della 
risposta  di  Galileo, — Operetta  intorno  al  galleggiare  dei  corpi 
solidi  di  Giorgio  Coresio. — Errori  di  Giorgio  Coresio  nella  sua 
operetta  del  galleggiare  della  figura  raccolti  da  d.  Benedetto 
Castelli.  Con  correzioni  ed  aggiunte  di  Galileo. — Lettera  di 
Tolomeo  Nozzolini  a  monsignor  Marzimedici  arcivescovo  di 
Firenze. — Lettera  a  Tolomeo  Nozzolini. — Discorso  apologetico 
di  Lodovico  delle  Colombe. — Consider azioni  di  Vincenzio  di 
Grazia, — Frammenti  attenenti  alia  scrittura  in  risposta  a  Lodovico 
delle  Colombe  e  Vincenzio  di  Grazia. — Risposta  alle  opposizioni 
di  Lodovico  delle  Colombe  e  di  Vincenzio  di  Grazia  contro  al 
trattato  delle  cose  che  stanno  su  Tacqua  o  che  in  quella  si 

Volume  Quinto  (1895). — Apellis  latentis  post  tabulam  tres 
epistolae  de  maculis  solaribus. — Apellis  latentis  post  tabulam  de 
maculis  solaribus  et  stellis  circa  lovem  errantibus  accuratior 
disquisitio;  con  postille  di  Galileo. — Istoria  e  dimostrazioni 
intorno  alle  macchie  solari  e  loro  accidenti,  comprese  in  tre 
lettere  scritte  a  Marco  Velseri. — Frammenti  attenenti  alle  lettere 
sulle  macchie  solari. — Lettera  a  D.  Benedetto  Castelli. — Lettere 
a  mons.  Piero  DinL — Lettera  a  madama  Cristina  di  Lorena 
granduchessa  di  Toscana. — Considerazioni  circa  Topinione  coper- 
nicana. — Discorso  del  flusso  e  reflusso  del  mare. — Francisci 
Ingoli  De  situ  et  quiete  Terrae  disputatio. — Proposte  per  la 
determinazione  della  longitudine. 

Volume  Sesto  (1896). — De  tribus  cometis  anni  MDCXVIII 
disputatio  astronomica  publice  habita  in  Collegio  Romano 
Societatis  Jesu  ab  uno  ex  patribus  eiusdem  Societatis. — Discorso 
delle  co mete,  con  alcuni  frammenti  ad  esso  attenenti. — Lotharii 
Sarsii  Sigensani  Libra  astronomica  ac  philosophica ;  con  postille 
di  Galileo.— Lettera  di  Mario  Guiducci  al  P.  Tarquinio  Galluzzi. 


— II  Saggiatore.— Lotharii  Sarsii  Sigensani  Ratio  ponderum  et 
simbellae;  con  postille  di  Galileo. — Lettera  a  Francesco  Ingoli 
in  risposta  alia  Disputatio  de  situ  et  quiete  terrae. — Scritture 
concernenti  il  quesito  in  proposito  della  stima  d'un  cavallo. — 
Scritture  attenenti  all'  idraulica. 

Volume  Settimo  (1897). — I  due  massimi  sistemi  del  mondo. 
— Frammenti  attenenti  al  dialogo  sopra  i  due  massimi  sistemi 
del  mondo. — Dal  libro  di  G.  B.  Morin  "Famosi  et  Antiqui 
Problematis  de  Telluris  Motu  vel  Quiete,"  con  le  note  di 
Galileo. — Esercitazioni  filosofiche  di  A.  Rocco,  con  postille  di 

Volume  Ottavo  (1898). — Le  nuove  scienze. — Della  forza  della 
percossa. — Sopra  le  difinizioni  delle  proporzioni  d'Euclide. — 
Frammenti  attenenti  ai  discorsi  e  dimostrazioni  matematiche 
intorno  a  due  nuove  scienze. — Le  operazioni  astronomiche.— 
Lettera  al  Principe  Leopoldo  di  Toscana  in  proposito  del  cap. 
L.  del  "  Litheosphorus  "  di  Fortunio  LicetL — Frammenti  attenenti 
alia  lettera  al  Principe  Leopoldo  di  Toscana. 

Scritture  di  data  incerta. 

A  proposito  di  una  macchina  con  gravissimo  pendolo  adattato 
ad  una  leva. — A  proposito  di  una  macchina  per  pestare  — Di 
alcuni  effetti  del  contatto  e  della  confricazione. — Sopra  le  scoperte 
de  i  dadi.— Intorno  la  cagione  del  rappresentarsi  al  senso  fredda 
o  calda  la  medesima  acqua  a  chi  vi  entra  asciutto  o  bagnato. — 
Problems — Nell'  arte  navigatoria. — Frammenti  geometrici. 

Volume  Nono  (1899). — La  figura,  sito,  e  grandezza  del- 
ITnferno  di  Dante. — Considerazioni  al  Tasso. — Postille  air  Ariosto. 
— Argomento  e  traccia  d'una  commedia. — Poesie  e  Frammenti. 
— Canzone  di  Andrea  Salvador!  per  le  Stelle  Medicee,  scritta  e 
corretta  di  propria  mano  da  Galileo. — Saggio  di  alcune  esercita- 
zioni  scolastiche  di  Galileo. 

Volume  Decimo  (1900) — Carteggio,  1574-1610. 

Volume  Undecimo  (1901). — Carteggio,  1611-1613. 

Volume  Duodecimo  (1902). — Carteggio,  1614-1619. 

In  course  of  publication. 

Volume  Decimoterzo. — Carteggio,  1620-1628. 
Volume  Decimoquarto. — Carteggio,  1629-1632. 
Volume  Decimoquinto. — Carteggio,  1633. 
Volume  Decimosesto. — Carteggio,  1634*1636. 


Volume  Decimosettimo. — Carteggio,  1637-1638. 
Volume  Decimottavo. — Carteggio,  163  9-1 642.* 
Volume  Decimonono. — Document!. 
Volume  Ventesimo. — Indici. 

Besides  editing  this  splendid  collection,  which  alone  is  a 
monumental  work,  Professor  Favaro  has  written  considerably 
over  one  hundred  papers,  essays,  and  detailed  studies,  each 
illustrative  of  some  point  in  the  life  and  writings  of  Galileo. 
Some  of  these  have  been  published  in  book  form,  but  far  the 
greater  part  is  scattered  through  the  journals  of  learned  societies 
in  Italy,  dating  back  to  1878.  Fortunately  for  the  student,  much 
of  the  information  they  contain  is  reproduced  in  the  numerous 
(historical  and  critical)  introductions  and  notes  which  enrich  the 
new  national  edition  of  Galileo's  works  and  correspondence.  In 
the  following  list  we  give  a  few  as  of  general  interest,  besides 
which  some  other  papers  by  the  same  author  will  be  found 
quoted  in  the  body  of  our  work. 

FAVARO,  PROF.  ANTONIO.     "Galileo    e  lo  Studio  di  Padova," 

2  vols.    Florence,  1883. 
"Scampoli   Galileiani."     12  Series  (Atti  e  Memorie  della 

Accademia    di    Scienze^    Lettere\    ed    Arti    in    Padova). 

"  Document!  Inediti  per  la  Storia  dei  Manoscritti  Galileiani 

nella  Biblioteca  Nazionale  di  Firenze."    Rome,  1886. 
"  Miscellanea     Galileiana    Inedita :     Studi    e     Ricerche " 

(Memorie  del  .R.  Istituto    Veneto  di  Scienze,  Lettere,  ed 

Aril).     1887. 

"  Galileo  Galilei  e  Suor  Maria  Celeste."    Florence,  1891. 

"  Nuovi  Studi  Galileiani >;  (Memorie  del  R.  Istituto   Veneto 

di  Sdenze^  Lettere^  ed  Arti).     1891. 
"  Galileo  ed    il  suo  Terzo  Centenario  Cattedratico  nelP 

Universita  di  Padova"  (Natura  ed  Arte).     Milan,  1893. 

The  following  items  are  arranged  in  chronological  order, 

VIVIANI,  VINCENZIO.  "  Racconto  Istorico  della  Vita  di  Galileo." 
Florence,  1654  (printed  in  vol.  xv.  of  Alb&ri's  Edition, 
quoted  above). 

1  The   Carteggio  contains  considerably  over  4000  letters  from,  to,  and 
concerning,  Galileo,  of  which  420  are  Galileo's. 


SALUSBURY,  THOMAS.     "  Mathematical  Collections  and  Transla- 
tions," 2  vols.     London,  1661  and  1665. 

Contains  following  works  of  Galileo  : — 

(1)  "  On  the  System  of  the  World." 

(2)  "Epistle  to  the  Grand  Duchess,  Mother,  Concerning  the  Authority 

of  Scripture  in  Philosophical  Controversies." 

(3)  "  Mathematical   Discourses    and    Demonstrations    touching    Two 

New  Sciences,  Pertaining  to  Mechanics  and  Local  Motions." 

(4)  "  On  Mechanics,  with  some  Additional  Pieces." 

(5)  "  Discourse  on  Natation." 

Note.— Part  II.  of  the  Second  Volume  contains  a  "Life  of  Galileo,"  in  five 
books.  Most  of  the  copies  of  this  part  were  destroyed  in  the  Great 
Fire  of  London,  and  very  few  perfect  copies  now  exist ;  that  in  the 
British  Museum  is  imperfect. 

WESTON,  THOMAS.  "  Mathematical  Discourses  Concerning  Two 
New  Sciences  relating  to  Mechanics  and  Local  Motion, 
in  Four  Dialogues,  by  Galileo  Galilei,  Chief  Philosopher 
and  Mathematician  to  the  Grand  Duke  of  Tuscany. 
With  an  Appendix  Concerning  the  Centre  of  Gravity  of 
Solid  Bodies."  Done  into  English  from  the  Italian. 
London,  1730. 
NELLI,  Gio.  BATISTA  CLEMENTE.  "Vita  e  Commercio 

Letterario  di  Galileo  Galilei,"  2  vols.     Lausanne,  1793. 
MONTUCLA,    J.   F.     "Histoire  des  Mathematiques  depuis   leur 

Origine  jusqu'a  Nos  Jours,"  3  vols.     Paris,  1802. 
NEUMAYR,  ANTONIO.    "Illustrazione  del  Prato  della  Valle,  ossia 
della  Piazza  delle  Statue  di  Padova,"  2  parts.      Padua, 

VENTURI,  GIAMBATISTA.  "Memorie  e  Lettere  Inedite  Finora 
o  Disperse  di  Galileo  Galilei,"  2  parts.  Modena,  1818- 

MOLL,  Dr  G.     "  On  the  first  Invention  of  Telescopes,  collected 
from  the  Notes  and  Papers  of  the  late  Prof.  Van  Swinden  " 
(Journal  of  the  Royal  Institution),     London,  1831, 
DRINKWATER-BETHUNE,  J.  E.     "  Life  of  Galileo.    With  Illustra- 
tions of  the  Advancement  of  Experimental  Philosophy." 
(Library  of  Useful  Knowledge).    London,  1833. 
POWELL,  BADEN.     "  Historical  View  of  the  Physical  and  Mathe- 
matical Sciences  from  the  Earliest  Ages  to  the  Present 
Times'   (Lardner's  Cabinet  Cyclopaedia).     London,   1834. 
WHEWELL,   WILLIAM.     "History  of  the  Inductive  Sciences,"  3 
vols.     London,  1837  ;  or  later  editions. 


BREWSTER,   SIR    DAVID.      "Martyrs  of  Science,   or    Lives    of 
Galileo,  Tycho  Brah£,  and  Kepler."    London,  1841. 

The  Biography  of  Galileo  first  appeared  in  Lardner's  Cabinet 
Cyclopaedia— "Eminent  Literary  and  Scientific  Men  of  Italy, 
Spain,  and  Portugal,"  2  vols.  London,  1835. 

LIBRI,  GUILLAUME.     "  Histoire  des  Sciences  Math^matiques  en 

Italie  depuis  la  Renaissance  des  Lettres  jusqu'a  la  fin  du 

17  Si£cle,"  4  vols.     Paris,  1841. 
"  Essai  sur  la  Vie  et  les  Travaux  de  Galilee."    Paris,  1841. 

(Reprint   from    the  Revue    des   Deux   Mondes  of  isth 

July  1841). 
ROSINI,  GIOVANNI.     "  Descrizione  della  Tribuna  di  Galileo  in 

Firenze."    Florence,  1841. 
ANTINORI,  VINCENZO.     "Notices  sur  La  Tribune  de  Galilee." 

Florence,  1843.     (Reprinted  1861). 
GRANT,  ROBERT.     "  History  of  Physical  Astronomy."    London, 

ARAGO,  FRANCOIS.     "  Oeuvres  Completes,  de,"  edited  by  J.  A. 

Barral,  3  vols.     Paris,  1855. 
CHASLES,  PHILAR&TE.     "  Galileo  Galilei :   Sa  Vie,  Son  Proces,  et 

Ses  Contemporains."    Paris,  1862, 
VARIOUS  AUTHORS.     "  Nel  Trecentesimo  Natalizio  di  Galileo  in 

Pisa,  18  Febbraio  1864."    Pisa,  1864. 
PARCHAPPE,  MAX.     "  Galilee,  Sa  Vie,  Ses  D&ouvertes,  et  Ses 

Travaux."    Paris,  1866. 
PONSARD,  FRANCOIS.     "  Galilee :  Drame  en  Trois  Actes  en  Vers." 

Paris,  1867. 
MARTIN,  TH.  HENfei.     "  Galilee :  Les  Droits  de  la  Science,  et  la 

Mdthode  des  Sciences  Physiques."    Paris,  1868. 
FIGUIER,  Louis.     "  Vies  des  Savants  Illustres  depuis  1'Antiquite 

jusq'au  19  Si&cle,"  4  vols.     Paris,  1869, 
ANONYMOUS  (MRS  OLNEY).    "  Private  Life  of  Galileo.    Compiled 

Principally  from  his  Correspondence  and  that    of   his 

Eldest  Daughter,  Sister  Maria  Celeste,  Nun  in  the  Fran- 

ciscan  Convent  of  St  Mathew  in  Arcetri."    London,  1870. 
NEWCOMB,  SIMON.     "Popular  Astronomy.    London,  1878." 
CLERKE,  A.  M.     "Biography  of  Galileo,"  in  Ency.  Brit    Ninth 

Edition.     Edinburgh,  1879. 
GEBLER,  KARL  VON.     "Galileo  Galilei  and  the  Roman  Curia." 

(Mrs  Sturge's  Translation).    London,  1879. 
BALL,  SIR  R.  S.    "  Story  of  the  Heavens."    London,  1885  ;  or 

later  editions. 


WEGG-PROSSER,    F.   R.      "Galileo  and   his  Judges,"     London, 

Govi,    GILBERTO.     "The   Compound   Microscope    invented   by 

Galileo."     (Journal  of  the   Royal  Microscopical  Society}. 

London,  1889. 
BERRY,   ARTHUR.     "Short   History   of  Astronomy."     London, 

GORI,  PIETRO-     "Le  Preziosissime  Reliquie  di  Galileo  Galilei." 

Florence,  1900. 
NEWCOMB,  SIMON.     "  The  Stars."    London,  1901. 


Accademia  dei  Lincei,  128,  132,  155, 

del  Cimento,  363,  392 

della  Crusca,  18,  29,  388 

Acoustics,   Galileo's  experiments  in, 


Air,  specific  gravity  of,  350 
Apology,  Galileo's,  157 
Aproino,  Paolo,  advice  re  Dialogue 

of  1632,   264;   tribute  to  Galileo, 

Arcetri,     Galileo's     villa     at,     235 ; 

memories  of  Galileo,  237  ;   called 

by     Galileo    "  my    prison,"    386 ; 

visited  by  Milton,  390 
Archimedes  and  Hiero's  crown,  14 
Ariosto,  29,  286,  411 
Aristotle,  doctrines  of,   8,   22-6,    56, 

100,  no,  123,  130,  137,  147,  150, 

248  et  s&q.>  350  et  seq.t  370,  394, 


Arrighetti,  Andrea,  327,  333 
Astrology,  54,  64 
Aula  Magna,  Padua  University,  57 

BACON,  FRANCIS,  53,  65,  424 

Balance,  Hydrostatic,  14 

Barberini,    Cardinal    Antonio,     264, 

292*  307,  333,  336,  380 
Cardinal  Francesco,    263,    270, 

273,  278-80,  285,  300,  321-2,  380-1 
Cardinal    Maffeo.      See   Urban 


Beams,  strength  of,  360 
Bellarmine,  Cardinal,   51,   127,    155, 

163,    166-9,    196,   275,   294,    314, 


Bellosguardo,  Galileo's  villa  at,  192 
Bentivoglio,    Cardinal,    287-8,    290, 


Bibliography,  Galilean,  423-33 
Bologna-stone,  phosphorescent,  391 
Borgia,  Cardinal,  321-2 
Boscaglia,  Professor,  149 
Brane",  Tycho,  36,  50,  55,  65,  394 

Bridge  with  cycloidal  arches,  22 
Bruno,  Giordano,  burnt,  325 
Burgi  and  pendulum-clock,  399 

CACCINI,  FATHER,  denounces  Gali- 
leo, 152,  155;  begs  pardon,  159 

the  sculptor,  404,  406 

Calculus,  indivisible  or  fluxional,  120, 

Calmet,  Father,  cosmography  of  the 
Bible,  319,  427 

Campanella,  Tommaso,  226,  271 

Canalisation  schemes,  242 

Capra,  claims  to  be  true  inventor  of 
the  geo.  and  mil.  compass,  44-6 

Cardan,  the  algebraist,  and  astrology, 


Castelli,  Benedetto,  forbidden  to  teach 
Coperhicanism,  9,  147 ;  on  the  air 
thermometer,  51 ;  on  Galileo's  load- 
stone, 6 1  ;  on  Saturn's  ring,  113; 
defends  Galileo's  treatise  on  Float- 
ing Bodies,  144 ;  Galileo's  letter  to, 
149,  202,  215,  219,  226,  328,  379* 
385>  400 

Catenary  curve,  359 

Cavalieri,  Bonaventura,  120,  401 

Cesalpino,  Andrea,  8 

Cesi,  Prince,  112,  128,  156,  200,  240 

Chiaramonti,  Scipione,  256,  343 

Christmann,  103 

Church  of  Santa  Croce,  2 ;  Galileo's 
grave  and  monument  in,  402-6 ; 
sentence  of  Inquisition  publicly  read 
in,  327 

Santa   Maria  Novella,   Galileo 

denounced  from  pulpit  of,  152 

Ciampoli,  Giovanni,  156,  272,  328,413 

Cigoli,  the  painter,  7,  134 

Clavio,  Cristoforo,  19,  101,  127 

Clock,  pendulum,  396 

Cohesion,  molecular,  349,  360,  370 

Comets  of  1618,  181 

Compass,  geometrical  andj  military, 
42,93,  119 

Concords,  musical,  363 




Constellations,  the,  89 

Conti,  Cardinal,  the  Bible  and  science, 


Copernicus,  book  suspended,  164 
Coresio,  Giorgio,  144 
Cosimo  II.,  Grand  Duke,  44,  57,  62, 

64,85,96,  117,  121,  123,  126,  128, 

137,  158,  170,  i77>  215,  404 
Costoli,  his  statue  of  Galileo,  414 
Cremonino,  Cesare,  101 
Cristina,   Grand    Duchess,  64,   149 ; 

Galileo's  letter  to,  157,  204 
Cycloid,  the,  22,  401 

DANTE'S  "  Inferno,"  18 

Da  Vinci,  Leonardo,  23,  88 

De  Dominis,  Marc'  Antonio,  325 

D'Elci,  Arturo,  144 

Delle  Colornbe,  Lodovico,  144 

Del  Monte,  Cardinal,  21,  127-8,  155, 


Guidobaldo,  18,  20,  22,  28,  34 

De  Medici,   Giovanni,  his  dredger, 

De  Medici,  Leopoldo,  53,  96,  239, 

392,  399,  4i6,  425 

Marie,  and  the  telescope,  99 

Demi,   Emilio,   bust   and   statue  of 

Galileo,  193,  417 
"  De  Motu  Gravium,"  24 
De  Noailles,  Comte,  345,  347,  380 
De  Peiresc,  Niccol6,  209,  345,  380 
Descartes,  371,  390 
Dialogue  on  the  Two  Systems  of  the 

World,  214,   226;  plan  of,   243; 

contents  of,  248  ;  value  of,  261  ; 

publication  of   and  consequences, 

263;  sale  of  interdicted,  271 ;  and 

numerous  references  in  subsequent 

Dialogues  on  the  two  new  Sciences, 

333,    344;   publication    of,    346; 

contents  of,  349  ;  value  of,  366 
Digges,  father  and  son,  62 
Di  Grazia,  Vincenzio,  145 
Diodati,   EHa,   239,   339,  366,  372, 

378,  388 
Di  Zuniga,  Diego,  book  suspended, 

Drebbel,  Cornelius,  53,  209 

' '  EPPUR  si  MUOVE,"  324 

Faculae  (sun-spots),  131 
Falling  bodies,  laws  of,  25,  350 
Favaro,  Professor,  8,  13,  21,  28,  30, 
41,  49,   109,  112,   168,   175,  I93> 
196,  288,  322,  418,  429,  430,  433, 

Ferdinando  I.,  Grand  Duke,  13,  1 8, 

20,  6 1,  64 
Ferdinando  II.,  53,  206,  215,   225, 

239,  242-3,  271,283,  309,  333,  375, 

380,  3^4-5,  400,  403,  4i6 
Firenzuola,   Father,   294,   299,   300, 


Floating  bodies,  discourse  on,  136 
Fogginis,  the,  sculptors,  405 
Foscarini,  his  book  prohibited,  164 
Foscolo,  Ugo,  192 

GALILEI,  family  of  the,  i 

Livia  (Galileo's  daughter),  73, 

191.  195,  384 
Livia  (Galileo's  sister),  33,  66, 

Michelangelo,  33,  67,  99>  216, 

Vincenzio  (Galileo's  father),  2, 

I3>  33 

Vincenzio  (Galileo's  son),  30,  73, 

190,  197,  202,  215,  223,  231,  305, 
340,  38?,  398 

Virginia  (Galileo's  sister),  32,  66 

Virginia  (Suor  Maria  Celeste), 

73,  190-336 passim;  death,  338 

Galileo,  birth  and  early  youth,  4 ; 
youthful  abilities,  6;  enters  on 
medical  studies  at  Pisa,  8 ;  observa- 
tions on  the  pendulum,  9;  con- 
structs the  pulsilogia,  10 ;  takes  up 
mathematics,  12 ;  leaves  Pisa  for 
Florence,  14;  constructs  hydro- 
static balance,  14  j  studies  centre  of 
gravity  in  solids,  17,  22 ;  lectures 
on  Dante's  ''Inferno,"  18;  first 
visit  to  Rome,  19 ;  seeks  a  professor- 
ship, 18-20 ;  appointed  professor  in 
Pisa,  21 ;  discovers  the  cycloid,  22 ; 
attitude  towards  Aristotle,  22 ; 
writes  "De  Motu  Gravium,"  24; 
experiments  on  falling  bodies,  24 ; 
resigns  professorship,  26;  literary 
works,  28-32 ;  sister's  wedding 
present,  32  j  appointed  professor  in 
Padua,  34  j  early  writings  in  Padua, 
37;  declares  for  Copernicanism,  319  ; 
serious  illness,  40 ;  invents  machine 
for  raising  water,  42 ;  constructs 
geometrical  and  military  compass, 
42 ;  appointment  as  professor  re- 
newed, 46 ;  reputation  spreads,  47  ; 
at  home,  47 ;  friends,  49;  constructs 
air-thermometer,  51  j  lectures  on 
new  stars,  53;  appointment  as 
professor  renewed,  56 ;  experiments 
on  loadstones,  59 ;  on  the  sympa- 
thetic needle  telegraph,  63 ;  rela- 
tions with  the  Medici  family,  64; 



Galileo  [continued] — 
dabbles  in  astrology,  64  ;  family 
affairs,  66  et  seq.;  constructs  the 
telescope,  74;  appointed  professor 
for  life,  78  ;  first  telescopic  observa- 
tions, 85  et  seq.\  distributes  his 
telescopes,  98 ;  reception  of  his 
telescopic  discoveries,  100;  Horky's 
attack,  106;  observations  on  Saturn, 
1 08;  quits  Padua  for  Florence,  1 16; 
contemplated  writings,  118;  ap- 
pointment at  Court  of  Tuscany, 
121 ;  observes  phases  of  Venus, 
I23  t  goes  to  Rome,  126 ;  observa- 
tions on  Sun-spots,  128 ;  on  lunar 
mountains,  133 ;  the  moon  not 
habitable,  134;  discourse  on  float- 
ing bodies,  136 ;  gathering  storms, 
146 ;  polemical  letter  to  Castelli, 
149  ;  denounced  to  the  Inquisition, 
1 52 ;  polemical  letter  to  Grand 
Duchess  Cristina,  157 ;  goes  to 
Rome,  158 ;  admonished  by 
Cardinal  Bellarmine,  163  j  recalled 
to  Florence,  170  ;  treatise  on  the 
tides,  171  ;  proposes  his  method  for 
rinding  longitudes,  172 ;  ironical 
letter  to  Archduke  Leopold,  179; 
observations  on  comets,  181  ;  writes 
"  II  Saggiatore,"  183;  metaphysics, 
1 88;  his  children,  190;  moves  to 
Bellosguardo,  192 ;  his  eldest 
daughter,  193 ;  goes  to  Rome, 
200,  204 ;  Papal  pension,  206 ; 
explains  and  constructs  the  micro- 
scope, 207  ;  reply  to  Ingoli,  211  ; 
begins  his  Dialogue  on  the  two 
systems  of  the  world,  214 ;  family 
worries,  215 ;  threatened  loss  of 
salaried  leisure,  225 ;  goes  to 
Rome  with  the  Dialogue,  229 ; 
moves  to  Arcetri,  235 ;  difficulty 
as  regards  Imprimatur^  239;  plan 
and  contents  of  Dialogue,  243  ; 
Dialogue  denounced,  265 ;  before 
the  Inquisition,  270  et  seq. ;  sentence 
and  abjuration,  312  et  seq.;  exiled 
to  Siena,  331  ;  retirement  to 
Arcetri,  338;  depression,  340; 
behind  the  scenes,  342  ;  publishes 
Dialogues  on  the  New  Sciences,  346; 
contents  of  Dialogues,  349 ;  value 
of,  366;  resumes  longitude  pro- 
posals, 372;  moon's  librations,  375; 
blindness,  378 ;  sad  condition,  381 ; 
moves  into  Florence,  382 ;  makes 
his  will,  383 ;  returns  to  his 
"prison,"  386;  visited. by  Milton, 
388 ;  Viviani  joins  him,  391 ;  con- 
troversy with  Liceti,  391 ;  last 

words  on  Copernicanism,  393 ; 
designs  pendulum -clock,  396  ;  last 
days  and  death,  400 ;  burial,  402 ; 
monument,  404 ;  translation  of 
remains,  406 ;  relics,  407 ;  tempera- 
ment and  tastes,  408  ;  obiter  dicta^ 
412;  greatness  as  a  teacher,  413; 
tribune  of  Galileo,  413 ;  tercen- 
tenary of  birth  at  Pisa,  417  ;  ter- 
centenary of  professorship  in  Padua, 
417;  bibliography,  423 

Gilbert,  William,  59 ;  the  earth  a 
magnet,  62  ;  hazy  notion  of  gravi- 
tation, 62 ;  Galileo's  appreciation 
of,  258 

Grant,  Robert,  on  value  of  Galileo's 
work  in  mechanics,  370 

Grassi,  Orazio,  attacks  on  Galileo, 
182,  213  ;  concedes  Galileo's  great- 
ness as  teacher,  413 

Gravitation,  Gilbert's  idea  of,  62 ; 
Galileo's  idea  of,  250 

Gravity,  centre  of,  in  solids,  17,  22 

of  air,  350 

Gregory,  James,  designs  reflecting 
telescope,  95 

Griemberger,  127,  132;  admits  Jesuiti- 
cal origin  of  Galileo's  persecution, 

Guicciardini  has  Galileo  recalled  from 
Rome,  170 

Guiducci,  Mario,  discourse  on  comets, 
181,  327,  384 

HABITATION  of  moon  and  planets, 


Hariot,  Thomas,  Sun-spots,  132 
Harris,     Richard,     pendulum-clock, 


Harrison,  John,  his  chronometer,  173 
Harvey,  William,  student  in  Padua, 


Henri  Quatre,  99,  108 
Hiero,  story  of  his  crown,  14 
Hobbes,  Thomas,  and  Galileo,  390, 

Horky,   Martin,   attack   on   Galileo, 


Huygens,  Christian,  on  the  telescope, 
80 ;  on  planets'  satellites,  105  ;  dis- 
covers  Saturn's    ring,    115  ,*    con- 
structs pendulum-clock,  399 
Hydrostatics,  136  et  seq. 

"  IL  SAGGIATORE,"  183,  186  et  seq. 
Inchofer,  Melchior,  270,  297,  343 
Ingoli,  Francesco,  211 
Inquisition,    153-171,   270-326;  also 

frequent  references  in  subsequent 




Inquisition,   extra  judicial   pressure, 
300,  306 

proceedings    not    ratified    by 

Pope,  273,  322 

unjust  and  illegal,  276,  323 

sentence,   were   Judges    unani- 
mous ?  321 

Irradiation,  effects  of,  88,  133 

JACK,  PROFESSOR,  37,  360,  371 
Jansen,  Zacharias,  invents  microscope 

and  telescope,  76,  209 
Jesuits,  the,  121,  129,  186,  265,  284, 

342,  345,  425 
Jupiter,  89-92 

KEPLER,  39,  55,  65,  94,  104,  122, 

212,  259,  363 
Kuffler  and  the  microscope,  209 

LAGALLA,  135,  413 
Lagrange,  136,^348,370 
Lamp,  Possenti's,  in  Pisa,  9 
Landucci,  Benedetto,  32,  66,  218 
Lecture-desk,  Galileo's,  in  Padua,  57 
Libri,  Julius,  101 
Liceti,  Fortunio,  327,  391 
Light,  velocity  of,  362 
Line  of  quickest  descent,  356 
Lipperhey,  Hans,  invents  telescope, 


Loadstone,  61 
Longitude,  proposals  for  finding,  172 

et  seq.y  372  et  seq. 
Lorini,   Father,   denounces    Galileo, 

153  ;  contemptible  excuse,  1 60 

MACHINE,  dredging,  de  Medici's,  26 

for  raising  water,  Galileo's,  42 

Maestlin,  39,  54,  88,  105 
Magalotti,  Conte  Filippo,  263,  265, 

267,  273 
Magini,   Giovanni  Antonio,   18,   35, 

Magnetic  needle,  59 ;  magnetic  needle 

telegraph,  63 

Magnetism,  59  et  seq. ,  258 
Malatesti,  the  poet,  30 
Mars,  125 

Marsili,  Cesare,  263,  331,  413 
Mathematics,  low  estimate  of,  10,  13, 


Mayer,  Simon,  46,  107,  132 
Mazzoni,  Jacopp,  26,  40 
Mechanics,  Galileo's  work  in,  37,  348, 


Medals,  commemorative,  62,  96,  404 
Mellini,  Cardinal,  153-154,  163 
Mercury,  126 
Metius,  James,  and  the  telescope,  75 

Micanzio,    Fulgenzio,   50,   270,    344, 

346,  376;  423 
Michelangelo,  4,  13 

the  younger,  126,  279 

Microscope,  207  et  seq. 
Milton,  John,  5,  30 

and  Galileo,  125,  388 

Montucla,  J.  F.,  343,  371 

Moon,  Galileo's  observations  on,  86, 


Hbrations  of,  375 

not  habitable,  134 

Moons  of  Jupiter,  89,  119 
Morosini,  Francesco,  283 
!    Motion,  accelerated,  355 

laws  of,  367 

parabolic,  359 

projectile,  356 

uniform,  354 

MSS.,  Galilean,  collected  by  Viviani, 

425 ;   sold  as  waste    paper,    427 ; 

subsequent      recovery     of,      428 ; 

recent    extraordinary    forgery    of, 

Vatican,  168,  308,  321 

NEEDLE,  magnetic,  59 

telegraph  (by  sympathy),  63 

Newton,  6,  9,  61,  95,  182,  360,  367, 

37*,  43i 
NelH    erects   monument  to  Galileo, 

405;      recovers     many     Galilean 

MSS.,  4^7 
Niccolini    and  his    despatches,   271 

et  seq* 

OPTICS,  88,    133,   362.     Aha  under 

Orsini,  Cardinal,  171,  179 

PARALLAX,  stellar,  253,  393 
Pascal,  214,  35°,  43* 
Paul  V.,  i2i,  127,  170 
Pendulum,  vibrations  of,  9,  26,  363 

applied  to  clocks,  396 

Pension,    Papal,     to     Galileo,    206, 


Percussion,  force  of,  37,  366,  401 
Perelli,  Tommaso,  407,  428 
Piccolomini,  Ascanio,  331 
Pieroni,  Giovanni,  347,  393 
Pierozzi,  Father,  epitaph  over  Galileo's 

grave,  404 

Pinelli,  Gianvincenzio,  34,  36,  49 
Plague  in  Florence,  231,   240,  263, 


Plane,  inclined,  25,  356,  369 
Planets,  new,  predicted,  255 
question  of  their  habitability, 



Playfair,  Professor,  appreciation  of  the 

Dialogue  of  1632,  261 
Poggibonsi,     famous    meeting- place, 


Ponsard,  his  drama  "  Galilee,"  102 
Portraits  of  Galileo,  239 
Possenti,  his  lamp  in  Pisa,  9 
Problems,    mathematical,     19,     214, 

366,  401 
Pulsilogia,  10 


RENIERI,  FATHER,  and  the  longitude 

papers,  374 
Riccardi,  Niceolo,  183,  205,  226,  230, 

240,  272,  328 
Ricci,  Ostilio,  12,  14 
Rimiccini,  Francesco,  30,  393 

Tommaso,  200 

Roemer,  on  velocity  of  light,  363 
Roiti,    Professor,     measurements    of 

Galileo's  object-glass,  97 
Ruskin,  John,  2 
Ruzzante  (Angelo  Beolco),  244 


122,  178,  245 

Salviati,  Filippo,  131,  192,  245 
Santorio,  10,  53 

Sarpi,  Paolo,  44,  49.  122,  148,  155 
Satellites  of  the  planets,  105,  115 
Saturn's  ring,  108-115 
Scaglia,  Cardinal,  286,  288,  290,  322 
Schemer,  Father,  105,  129,  265,  347 
Seggett,  Thomas,  51,  104 
Serristori,  Mgr.,  264,  286 
"  Sidereus  Nuncius,"  85-92 
Simplicio  =  the  Simpleton,  268-9,  273, 

393>  322>  38° 

Sirturo,  Girolamo,  and  his  first  tele- 
scope, loo 

Sizzi,  Francesco,  103,  106 
Sphere,  Galileo's  treatise  on  the,  39 
Stars,  fixed,  88,  251-6 

Stars,  rrew,  45,  53 
Sun-spots,  128-132 
Suor  Maria  Celeste.  See  Galilei, 

Virginia  (Galileo's  daughter) 
Sustermans,  the  painter,  238 

Targioni-Tozzetti,  416;   on  Galileo's 

MSS.,    427 ;    on     translation    of 

Galileo's  remains,  406 
Tasso,  29,  411 

Telegraph,  sympathetic  needle,  63 
Telescope,  74-97,  109 

binocular,  75,  175 

Thermometer,  51-53 

Tides,  the,  62,  171,  179,  213,   259, 


Torre  del  Gallo,  237 
Torricelli,  22,  92,  94,  400,  417 
Torture,  was  it  applied  ?  3 10,  323 

stages  of,  323 

Tower,  leaning,  Pisa,  24 

URBAN  VIII.,  127,  137,  148,  156, 
184,  200,  205,  213,  227,  229,  268, 
and  after,  passim 

VACUUM,  nature's  horror  of,  349 

Vallombrosa,  4 

Vatican  MSS.,  168,  308 

history  of,  321 

Venus,  phases  of,  123 

Verses  of  Galileo  quoted,  31 

Virtual  Velocities,  principle  of,  37, 
136,  371 

Viviani,  Vincenzio,  8,  40,  208,  356, 
366,  391,  398,  404.  See  also  Bib- 

WEDDERBURN,  JOHN,  51,  106,  207 
Welser,  Mark,  101,  129 
Willoughby,  Richard,  50